Military Cross Awards

Courtesy Book of Honour

Courtesy Book of Honour

Lieutenant Frederick John Gordon Whittall MC

Frederick Whittall took command of the 17th Battalion on 9th July 1916 at Trones Wood.  He was gazetted for  a Military Cross on 26/9/16  for the action.  His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry in action.  He led his company with great dash, and for 24 hours, under heavy shell fir, occupied and improved a line of trenches.  On two previous occasions he had displayed great courage in action.”   In Spring Lt. Whittall had been OC IV Platoon of D Company.

2nd Lt Mansergh in Spring 1915

2nd Lt Mansergh in Spring 1915

Lieutenant Robert Forbes Mansergh MC

The III Platoon Officer for Arthur Bell was awarded MC for deeds in the summer of 1916.  Arthur Bell had referred to his prior bravery in preventing injuries during an accident in grenade training.  “Perhaps a notch towards an honour later.  In fact, he was awarded the M.C. in September, 1916.”

Robert’s citation, dated 26/9/16, reads “When an enemy shell lighted an ammunition store, he and his orderly [Pte A Hall who was awarded the DCM], although they had been knocked over by the explosion, helped to organise a party to remove the ammunition. Continual explosions were taking place around them. Later he assisted to dress and bring in the wounded.”

See The Cost

Courtesy Book of Honour

Courtesy Book of Honour

2nd Lieutenant William Harrington Hulton Dawson MC

William Dawson was gazetted on 10/1/17 for taking command of part of B Company during the failed assault at Flers – where Arthur Bell was wounded.  His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry in action.  He displayed great courage and ability in organising the consolidation and defence of the position [thought to be Bayonet Trench]. Later, although wounded, he reported the situation to Battalion headquarters.”  William appears to have joined the Battalion in France during 1916.  He was subsequently transferred to the Indian Army and promoted Captain.  He went on to live in Shropshire.

2nd Lieutenant Harry Vivian Taylor MC

Harry Taylor was gazetted for his MC on 26/5/17.  His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He gallantly led his company against several machine guns and succeeded in putting 6 of them out of action, thereby undoubtably saving his battalion from many casualties. He set a fine example of courage and initiative.”  This probably relates to the action at Flers where he must have been one of the few officers to remain. Harry was later promoted to Captain.  He was originally posted missing and presumably assumed killed on 22/3/18 near St Quentin.  He is buried in Savy Cemetery.  Aged 24, Harry was the son of Henry and Elizabeth Taylor, of “Netherly,” Rivington Road, Pendleton. Born 29/1/1894. Harry has originally enlisted in the 20th (Public Schools) Battalion Royal Fusiliers Number 5746. He is commemorated on the Memorial Plaque at St James Church Hall, Eccles Old Road, Hope.  Also Old Salfordians Memorial.

Courtesy Book of Honour

Courtesy Book of Honour

2nd Lieutenant Alan Thomas Selbourne Holt MC

A Company’s former subaltern was gazetted on 18/6/17 for action at Heninel.  His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  When in the second line of the enemy position with only a few men, he succeeded in holding the position.  When he was wounded, he encouraged his men to carry on the work and gave directions for the defence before withdrawing.”

Alan Holt’s father Edwin was an affluent solicitor.  In 1901 the family lived in Platt Lane, Rusholme and employed four servants.  Alan was born in May 1896.  He attended Merton House School, near Conway and Rugby School (1911 Census), where he served three years in the Officers Training Corps.  He graduated Manchester University with a Law degree in 1913.  He had been a solicitors articled clerk; before his commission on the same day as Norman Vaudrey on 28th September 1914.  Alan Holt’s Application for a Commission was counter-signed by his father, Edwin; the Minister of Hale Congregational Church and Headmaster of Wadham House School.  It refers to an earlier application to join the infantry that was signed by the Vice-Chancellor, indicating a connection with the University.

In the Spring of 1915, Alan was OC of XV Platoon in D Company.  He arrived in France on 5th January 1916, presumably staying back with the 25th Training Reserve Battalion when the 17th left for France in November 1915. During his time with A Company he wrote some vivid and increasingly dry letters to his mother Sarah.  These recorded wounds at Guillemont and during a fatal accident during rifle grenade training see Flers in August 1916 when his left foot was wounded.

Arthur Bell noted “It had been he (Lt. Holt) who, one night, when, after much marching, I was on sentry duty go – more than half asleep standing up – challenged me and told me the consequences of being asleep on my post.  I learn from the official record that he subsequently gained the M.C. (Military Cross).  Mr Middlebrook’s book shows that he was alive at the time of writing.” 

Alan Holt returned home on 22nd August and treated for wounds in England and soon transferred to the 3rd Battalion on 3rd October, for General Service at Home, as part of the Humber Garrison.  He reported this to his parents from his billet at 31 Grant Street, Cleethorpes on 30th October 1916.  His attendance at the Board was delayed as a result of influenza and his brother’s wife having German Measles.  Reported fit on Christmas day 1916, he later recovered from a nasal problem- in which cigarette smoking was discouraged-  and the Medical Board recorded 2nd Lieutenant Holt fit for Overseas duty on 9th February 1917.

Following recovery from wounds Alan Holt returned to the Battalion where he was promoted Lieutenant and placed in command of A Company.  In the action at Heninel, Allan was recognised for his valour, but also captured and lived our the rest of hostilities as a Prisoner of War, repatriated on 4th December 1918.  He was not initially aware of his Award which was made simultaneously with  MC for Captain Cartman and RSM Coates.  See Pg 7 Captain Thomas Cartman Scrapbook_Part_1 Private Flaherty received notification of his DCM at this time.

Alan Holt did go on to live a long life.  Records show addresses in Hale and 2 Booth Street, Manchester in 1921.  Alan also married Catherine O’Neil at Barton on Irwell  in the summer of 1921.  Alan Holt delivered the Silent Toast – “Fallen Members” at the 16th Reunion Dinner at the Waldorf Hotel.(See Pg 19 Captain Thomas Cartman Scrapbook Part_2)

He was cremated in Altrincham in May 1980.

PoW Records

Allan Holt PoW Records

PoW Records

PoW Records

PoW Records

PoW Records

Captain Thomas Cartman MC

Thomas Cartman was gazetted on 18/6/17 for action in April 1917 near St Quentin.  His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  He showed great coolness and courage in organising the consolidation and defence of the position under very heavy fire.  Although wounded, he continued to direct operations until compelled to retire.”  Records indicate Thomas was the Battalion bombing officer.  Thomas died in the Second World War as a 47 year-old Lieutenant when the pre-war liner SS ‘Arandora Star’ was torpedoed.  Thomas Cartman is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial to the Missing in Surrey.  See photo ans further details at Roll of Honour – Second World War | Bury Grammar | Alumni Which includes detailed Service Record here MoD Cartman_Letter0001

RSM Henry Coates MC. Courtesy Manchester Forum

RSM Henry Coates MC. Courtesy Manchester Forum

Regimental Sergeant Major Henry Coates MC 9369

RSM Coates’ citation in the London Gazette of 18/6/17 refers to the award for “Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was largely instrumental in getting three wounded officers into safety under heavy fire.  He set a splendid example throughput under very heavy fire.” It is assumed these took place at Heninel in April 1917.  Henry was commissioned and survived hostilities.  He was married with three daughters and returned to Salford Police.

Platoon Sgt. Frank Ewart Chandler wearing the tram drivers uniform provided by the City Council. Photo Courtesy Andrew Chandler

Platoon Sgt. Frank Ewart Chandler .Courtesy Andrew Chandler

2nd Lieutenant Frank Ewart Chandler MC 8087.

While serving with Royal Engineers Special Brigade, III Platoon’s original Sergeant had been commissioned 2nd Lieutenant and awarded MC.  Gazetted 14/9/17 For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  Whilst engaged upon special work behind our front line, circumstances led him to suspect that a hostile raid was approaching, whereupon he manned the parapet and supplied his men with bombs.  The raid followed as onece, and was repulsed owing to his remarkable forsight and skilful disposition, and as soon as all was clear again he took his section back and continued work.  He has consistently done excellent work and set a splendid example of steady courage. See Enlistment and The Cost

Lieutenant John Francis Cottrell MC

Gazetted 26/7/18 for action assumed to be St Quentin in March 1918.  His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while in command of a company.  By his energy and zeal he was responsible for heavy losses inflicted on the enemy, and so orgainsied he defence that when the enemy took a position, he promptly ejected him, capturing thirty-one prisoners and a machine gun, and liberating several men of a neighbouring unit.  His liaison with a neighbouring battalion was admirably carried out under difficult circumstances, and his reports were most valuable.” Originally serving with the 1/16th London Regiment and entering France in November 1914, John was Commissioned in the 7th Battalion Manchester Regiment on 28/5/15.  At some later stage he was transferred to the 17th.  He retired in 1919 with entitlement for a Silver War Badge.  He went on to live in Newcastle.

Lt Norman Heywood with friends

Lt Norman Heywood with friends. Thanks to his Grandson Mark Macdonald.

Lt N Heywood Courtesy Mark Macdonald - his Grandson.

Lt N Heywood Courtesy Mark Macdonald – his Grandson.

2nd Lieutenant Norman Heywood MC

Gazetted 26/7/18 for action assumed to be St Quentin in March 1918.  “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during recent operations.  During the eight days his battalion was in action this officer on several occasions displayed the utmost coolness and personal gallantry, the men being considerably inspired by his example.  He also led a patrol and bought back valuable information regarding the movements and dispositions of the enemy.”  Originally enlisting in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps Norman Heywood was promoted acting Lance Corporal before being commissioned in the Manchester Regiment in June 1917.  After hostilities, he lived in Altrincham in 1926.

2nd Lieutenant Thomas Frederick Goldsmith MC & Bar

Thomas Goldsmith’s MC and Bar were simultaneously gazetted on 16/9/18 and probably relate to deeds at Ypres in April 1918.  The first citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  This officer held out in a redoubt for thirty-six hours with four mortars, firing eighty rounds of T.M. [trench mortar] ammunition at the enemy at close range, when he was surrounded on three sides.”  The BAR citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack, when he moved from post to post encouraging the men and helping the wounded.  On one occasion, when an enemy machine gun was established within 50 yards of his position, he left the trench with a small party and silenced the gun.  It was largely due to his courage and determination that the position was held in face of terrible odds.”  Thomas originally enlisted as a Private in the Kings Liverpool Regiment  and entered France the day before the 17th Manchesters.  In 1919 he had addresses in the Gold Coast, Africa and 3 Thompson Street, Moss Side.

2nd Lieutenant Fred Ruddy MC DCM

Fred Ruddy was gazetted on 16/9/18 for action near Shelley Farm at Ypres when he was in command of the composite A & B Company of the 17th Battalion forming part of the 16th.  His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while commanding a company during a hostile attack.  He formed a defensive flank and when the enemy broke through and both flanks were in the air he held on and inflicted sever loss on them, before withdrawing in good order.  He then took up a new positions, collected stragglers from other units and maintained his position in spite of heavy barrages and strong attacks for two days when he was relieved.” Fred had previously been awarded a DCM prior to his commission on 25/9/17, while serving as 2058 Lance Corporal in the 11th Royal Fusiliers – 25/11/16.

Major Hugh Tunbridge Pomfret MC

Major Pomfret was gazetted on 1/1/19 “For distinguished service in connection with Military Operations in France and Flanders.”  Records indicate Hugh Pomfret had been a professional soldier in the Boer War with the Provisional Mounted Police when he was awarded the King’s South Africa Medal and Queen’s South Africa Medal.

Captain Charles Sadler MC

Captain Sadler was gazetted on 3/6/19 “For distinguished service in connection with Military Operations in France and Flanders.”

Captain Ernest George Woodward MC

Captain Woodward was gazetted on 30/1/20 “For gallant and distinguished service in the Field”

20 thoughts on “Military Cross Awards

  1. Pingback: Captain Thomas Cartman – Treasure from a Lancashire skip | 17th Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  2. dianne norwood

    Hi, Just to let you know my grandfather, Sgt George Royle 9014 also received the Military Medal as well as the DCM which is already on your website. Do you know anything about Radley Hall in Cambridge. In one newspaper clipping it says that he went their to train for a commission in 1919. I contacted Radley Hall but apparently it closed down in 1919. Thanks Di

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Dianne,
      On the DCM profile I mentioned George’s MM, but missed it from the MM List. I’ll check back the source data and add him in this week end. By the way, did I show you the Platoon Roll and pic before?? https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/8223-private-j-w-lewis/
      It’s great that we’re in touch with other members of family for the various Pals.
      I’ve wondered about the photo on http://www.bbc.co.uk/remembrance/wall/record/9170
      It could certainly be an Officer Cadet’s Uniform. I have no more data about Radley Hall, but it could certainly have been a likely place for training Officer Cadets.
      Tim

      Reply
      1. Vin Thompson

        Hello,
        My grandfather, George Henry Thompson, a sergeant in the Manchesters, was awarded a military medal during WW1, at Ypres I believe. I have tried to find the citation and reason for the award without luck. I wonder if you might be able to help me?
        Thanks

      2. 8055bell Post author

        Hi Vin,
        Citations for the MM weren’t published. Try the local papers at the time of the London Gazette entry and there may be some report of the deed. You can search the LG on line.
        Also try http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php
        If you let me have his number I can have a look, but unlikely to find much I’m afraid. Good luck though!

        Tim

      3. 8055bell Post author

        Stop the Press. 2850 George’s Service Record is online showing rank of Sgt. Awarded MM ‘for Gallantry’ 18/3/18 serving with 16th Battalion. Previously wounded in hand at on 1st July 1916 with 2nd Bttn. LG Entry for MM 29/8/18. NO citation given

      4. 8055bell Post author

        Hi Vin,
        I’ve checked the Official Record and Michael Stedman’s schedule of Military Medal awards to for the 1st-4th City Battalions incl 16th. George is not listed, presumably because he was posted to 3rd Battalion and only attached to the 2nd then 16th. I’ll keep looking…
        T

  3. dianne norwood

    Hi Tim
    Thanks for the info., just sent it to my dad to see if he can find his father…… Re Radley Hall, it seems odd that he went there after he was demobilised. As according to a person at Radley Hall it was closed down.

    This is the answer I got from Radley Hall:-
    Thank you for your enquiry concerning your grandfather, George Royle. I am assuming that he came to Ridley Hall to train for a military commission, and not for the Anglican priesthood – as you may be aware, Ridley Hall is a Church of England training establishment. I think that in that case he must have trained with F Company, No. 2 Officer Cadet Training Battalion, who were occupying Ridley’s buildings at the time. The College had virtually closed down, as many of Ridley’s own staff and students were themselves engaged in the war, either as military chaplains or as combatants if not yet ordained. F company arrived in Ridley in late 1917, and remained until the beginning of 1919. Unfortunately we don’t hold any of the company/battalion records at Ridley, as they were just using the buildings, but I hope this will be of some help.

    Thanks Di

    Reply
  4. dianne norwood

    Oh, in the cutting it said Radley…. yes it must be Ridley. Thanks for that. I wonder what he was going to be doing there? Di

    Reply
    1. Dianne Norwood

      Sgt george royle – re last email I send about finding my grandfather in the platoon photograph. Thanks Di

      Reply
  5. dianne norwood

    When was the Platoon photograph taken approx & where? I have just spoken to my father & he believes his father is not the back row, not the short row but the guy at the end of the short row my grandfather is the one by his right arm. Just looked at the photo of my grandfather with his father & have just compared them. I will send you a photo & see what you think. Thanks Di

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      The Platoon pics were taken in April 1914 in Manchester. I thought the building was Heaton Hall, but found it wasn’t when I visited recently. I hope you’re right with the photo ID. It took me ages to see my Grandad!
      T

      Reply
  6. dianne norwood

    Better info on – identified him as not the back row, not the short row but the last guy on the right hand side of that line, look at his right arm & my grandfather is by his right arm. Did you get the photo I sent of Sgt G royle & his father? Thanks for the info. have a look at the website I have just set up http://www.manchesterpals.co.uk

    Thanks Di

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Di,
      I reckon you and your father are right on the photo ID. I’ll post a larger pic on my Home page for you. I’ll also bring in the link for your site. It looks like you’ve caught the bug!!! I’ll have a proper read later and may have a few bits and bobs to help….
      Tim

      Reply
  7. dianne norwood

    Oh thank you so much. Really appreciate your help. I have been doing this for years. I not only doing it for myself but especially for my father who is now in is 90s.
    thanks again

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Centenary of the Somme – Seven Pals from Manchester | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

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