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1/4th (City of Bristol) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment
Late 1st (City of Bristol) Volunteer Battalion.
Awarded 12 battle honours:
France & Flanders 1915-17. Ypres 1917. Langemarck 1917. Somme 1916. Albert 1916. Bazentin. Pozieres. Broodseinde. Poelcapelle. Italy 1917-18. Piave. Vittorio-Veneto.
Died: 48 officers and 333 men.South Midland Division Territorial Force (48th Division)

The sign of the 48th Division: A white diamond.
The Gloucester and Worcester Infantry Brigade (144th Brigade)
1/4th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment
1/6th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment
7th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
8th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment

1914

Started annual training on the last Sunday in July 1914, at Minehead. The next day they moved to Bristol and all ranks were dismissed to await mobilization. The order came on 4th August and the Division assembled at Swindon. Mid-August the 1/4th moved to villages around Chelmsford. Two companies were sent to guard petrol depots at Avonmouth; rejoining the battalion at the end of August.

1915

In March 1915 the 48th Division was inspected by King George V and at the end of the month it moved by train to Folkestone and then crossed to France. The Battalion strength was 29 officers and 997 men, commanded by Lt-Col. S. Davenport.

The 1/4th Bn landed at Boulougne on 31st March 1915. They moved by train to Cassel, then marched to the Winnezeele area. 3rd April the Division was reviewed by General Smith-Dorrien, 4th April 144th Brigade marched to billets at Bailleul. On the 10th April the Brigade moved to Armentieres.

17th April the 1/4th went into the front-line at Ploegsteert.

3rd May 1915 - 2 men were sentenced to 5 years penal servitude for sleeping on post.

5th June Lt. Mansell was wounded. In trenches opposite Messines during the month. 10th June Lieut. J.H. Knight-Adkin was hit in the stomach by a spent bullet, his belt

DCM - Corporal J.A. Selwood - (London Gaz. 30 June 1915) - "For conspicuous gallantry displayed at Le Gheer on 20th April 1915, in volunteering to go out in the mist at 2.30am and ascertain the truth of a report that some of the enemy were near our wire. On a flare being sent up, Cpl. Selwood discovered several of the enemy close to our entanglements and at once opened fire, to which they replied, severely wounding him in the arm. He then returned to our lines with his report."

10th June Lt. H.G. Phippen was wounded. 11th June 2nd Lt. H. Merrick wounded. By mid-June they were in trenches opposite Messines. 20th June 2nd Lt. G.K. Savile was killed. End of June the battalion marched via Bailleul, Merville and Lillers to Hurionville, where it remained in training until end of July.

By 5th September the 1/4th were in trenches at Hebuterne. On 2nd October the Germans launched a raid on the 1/4th positions. The raid was repulsed. On night 6th October 3 men rescued a wounded man and Lieutenant A.L.W. Newth was awarded the MC, and Sergeant Leonard Arthur Walford and Private H. Gould got the DCM.

DCM - 2881 Private H. Gould - (London Gaz. 29 Nov. 1915) - "For conspicuous gallantry on the night of the 6th/7th October 1915, at Hebuterne. A party of the battalion were mending wire in front of the trenches, when the enemy opened a heavy machine-gun and rifle fire upon them. When the party had retired to the trenches it was discovered that one man was missing, and Lt. Newth, with Sgt. Walford and Pte. Gould, immediately went out again in face of the heavy fire. They found the missing man, wounded and entangled in the wire, released him, and brought him in."

1916

1st January the 1/4th were in billets at Authie, still in the Hebuterne sector. On February 18th they took over trenches north of Fonquevillers, in the Hannescamps sector. Early in April they returned to the Hebuterne sector. 14th March 2nd Lt. R.A. Chattock was killed. 15th May they marched to a reserve position at Couin and 20th May were back in the trenches at Hebuterne again.

They were engaged in preparations for the coming offensive, burying cables, constucting and wiring assault trenches. The rest of the time was spent in training. 1st July 1916 the 1/4th Glosters were in Corps Reserve at Sailly. Moved to Courcelles 4th July, front-line Serre sector night of 8th July to take over from the 1/6th Glosters. "The front line contained numerous dead still awaiting burial. Three shells fell on a working party (1/4th) on the 9th killing 2nd Lt. H.P. Fisher and 5 other ranks." (Bn. History)

To Courcelles 12th July, Bouzincourt 14th July, front-line at Ovillers 15th July.

16th July - At 10 pm 'D' and 'B' Companies moved into position for the planned assault. 2nd Lt. C.F. Holland, with 6 men, crossed No-Man's Land to check the enemy wire. They returned at 11.30 to report that the enemy wire was cut. The plan was to attack at 2 am 17th July after a 10 minutes bombardment. The attack was a success and both Companies occupied their objectives. On the 18th the battalion advanced and took the 2nd line of German trenches. Another advance on the 19th was met by heavy German machine-gun fire, but Ovillers had been captured. The 1/4th withdrew to support lines at Donnet Post. From 16th to 20th July the battalion had lost 37 men killed and 211 wounded, with 27 missing.

22nd July to front-line near Pozieres. On night 23rd/24th July the 1/4th went into action in support of the 1/6th assault. The 1/6th attack was repulsed and so the 1/4th stopped. But at 7.30 am 24th July the 145th Brigade took up the assault and the 1/4th supported this attack.

25th July the 1/4th relieved he 1/5th Glosters in the front-line. Lieut. Master was killed.
26th July - a 'D' Company attack was repulsed.

27th July moved to Hedauville, Arqueves 28th, Beauval 29th, Franqueville 30th July, Autheux 8th August, Fienvillers 9th, Puchevillers 10th, Hedauville 12th, into support lines Ovillers sector 13th August, to front-line 15th August.

16th August - 2 am artillery barrage on enemy lines. The 1/4th attacked but were stopped by heavy enemy machine-gun fire. 2nd Lt. R.H. Down ('A' Company) was wounded (died 17th August) and 2nd Lts. R. Bird and H.G. Baker were killed. Lt. Crump was badly wounded in the arm. Around 70 men were killed, wounded or missing. Relieved to Bouzincourt later that day.

18th August back into trenches Ovillers Post.
21st August - attack on Leipzig Redoubt.

Narrative written by Captain E.E. Wookey : "We are to attack this evening, zero being fixed for 6 pm.... There will be an intense artillery barrage on enemy frontline from 6 pm till 6.5 pm. At 6.5 pm it will lift on to enemy second line. At 6.10 pm it will lift on to enemy third line. I will arrange to get my company well out before barrage starts. When it lifts we should be in enemy wire ..... At 2.15 pm Company assemble and draw stores etc. Each man is to carry 4 Mills grenades and 2 sand-bags. There are also 30 spades per company.... We have 2 pairs of wire cutters left and take these with us.... At 2.30 pm we shall moave off .... heavy shelling at midnight ... The trenches are shelled intermittently with heavy and light shells ... Sergt. Blackmore is wounded going up.... The congestion is frightful, time passes slowly.... At 5.15 pm move remaining platoons into front line ... At 5.30 pm we are in position and we make an issue of rum to the company.... At 5.50pm Trapnell and Phippen lead first two platoons, 7 and 8, over the parapet. A German machine-gun opens to our right, but as far as I can see causes no casualties. At 5.55 pm remaining 2 platoons with myself swarm over parapet .... At 6 pm (we are half way across the open) the bombardment opens. Under its cover we advance right up to the enemy's wire... The barrage put on the enemy's trenches is extraordinarily accurate. We have halted in the enemy's wire, the shells are bursting 30 yards away..... At 6.5 pm the barrage lifts on to the second line and we go into the enemy first line ...... dead and wounded enemy are lying about but there is little resistance ... At 6.10 pm as the barrage lifts to the third line, we push forward and occupy the second trench. Barricades are erected across the communication trenches... we have reached all our objectives .... Corpl. Knight does good work here and reports having obtaine touch with the 6th.... temporary headquarters in a bomb store in old German front line, afterwards moving into excellent ruined dug-outs ... where the 'C' company servants, who have risen to the occasion, have a meal ready at 8.30 pm. I dine with them.... All available men work on consolidation of positions .... The enemy has made no attempt to molest us."

Night of 22nd/23rd August the 1/4th repulsed 3 German attacks. Relieved to Bouzincourt 23rd August, Forceville 26th August. To trenches in Auchonvillers sector 27th. Bois de Warnimont 6th September, Bus-les-Artois 11th, Orville 13th, Autheux 18th, Sus-St. Leger 30th September, to Halloy 1st October, Souastre 3rd, trenches opposite Gommecourt 7th, Souastre 12th October.

'A' and 'C' Companies moved to Warlincourt 13th October. 'B' and 'D' companies moved to La Haie 14th, and to front-line 18th October. Moved to Warlincourt 20th, Sus-St Leger 21st, Bresle 25th, Albert 31st October, Bazentin-le-Petit 2nd November, into support trenches around Martinpuich 5th, Le Sars 7th. On 8th November Lt. E.M. Matthews was killed, Capt. E.E. Wookey wounded and Lt. H.G. Phippen wounded (died next day). Moved to North Camp, Peake Wood, Contalmaison 9th November, Lt. B. Clarke was killed and Lt. Langland wounded. 24th November 2nd Lt. Taylor was wounded. By end of December the 1/4th were in Contay.

1917

January was spent in training. 2nd February the Division moved south of the Somme sector and the 1/4th went to the front line north of Barleux. In March the Germans began to withdraw back to the Hindenburg Line. On the 18th March the 1/4th sent forward 'A' Company to set up positions near Biaches. 20th March the 1/4th crossed the river Somme and went to Little Flamicourt. Patrols were sent out. 21st March the battalion was relieved back to Sophie.

27th moved to Cartigny. 29th moved to Villers-Faucon. 30th March attacked and took village of St. Emilie without artillery support. The attack started at 4 pm. 2nd Lt. A. McClelland was killed, Capt. F.L. Hall, Lt. A.J. Gardiner, 2nd Lts. C.F. Holland and L.E. Wakefield were wounded, 6 men were killed and 47 wounded.

1st April the 1/4th were at Longavesnes. 5th April back at Cartigny. Back into front line on the 11th April.

13th April the 1/4th attacked enemy positions in the Lempire sector. At 4 am 'B' and 'C' Companies attacked and secured their objectives. That night the battalion was relieved by 1/5th Glosters and went back to billets at Hamel.

24th April at 11 pm the 1/4th attacked The Knoll in the Gillemont Spur. An attack by the 1/6th Glosters on the previous day, had been repulsed. In the attack the 1/4th lost Major L.G. Parkinson (he was killed at St. Emilie while receiving attack orders over the telephone. Night of 25th April the 1/4th were relieved back to Villers Faucon. At the end of the month they were at Lempire. After a move to Peronne, the 1/4th went to Lebucquire (a sector north of the Somme). 3rd July they moved back to a training area at Blairville. Late in July the 48th Division was ordered to the Ypres sector.

16th to 18th August the 1/4th were at Reigersburg Camp. On night of 22nd August the 1/4th relieved the 1/6th Glosters in the front line. During the month the 1/4th lost Capt. E.L. Andrews and 9 men killed, 4 men died of wounds, and 67 men were wounded and 1 officer and 13 ranks were gassed.

1st to 17th September the 1/4th were at School Camp (St. Jan Ter Biezen). During the battle of Broodseinde (4th October) the 1/4th supplied 2 platoons to act as stretcher-bearers and prisoner guards.

9th October battle of Poelcapelle - 1/4th were to attack on the left towards 'Oxford House'. This enemy strong-point held them up, which caused problems for the 1/6th Glosters who were advancing in the centre of the attack. The 1/4th faced heavy machine-gun fire and were unable to reach their objectives. The attack cost 4 officers and 31 men killed, 6 officers and 102 wounded, 3 died of wounds and 31 missing. 10th October the 48th Division was relieved and moved back to Siege Camp.

13th October entrained at Houpoutre and reached Villers-au-Bois on the 15th.
17th October the 1/4th relieved the 29th Canadian Regiment, in front line positions east of Vimy.
23rd October the 48th Division entrained for Italy. Leaving Tinques they travelled via Paris, Lyons, Marseilles, Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, Menton, Parma, Bologna, Turin and Milan.

30th October the 1/4th were in billets at Pojana. They spent time in training and supplying work-parties. At the end of the year they were in Bressanvido.

1918

The 48th Division were now part of the 2nd Italian Army. British and French Divisions had been sent to support the Italian front, where the Italian army had been in retreat. This retreat had stopped at the River Piave. The British were positioned in the Montello sector.

Corporal G.J. Collins - (London Gaz. 4 March 1918) - "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of his company after all the company officers had become casualties. Although under exceedingly heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, he visited the posts continually. He remained with the company till the following morning when an officer was sent to relieve him."

31st March the 1/4th were at Curtarold. 9th April the 1/4th were inspected by H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught.

15th June - battle of Piave. The 1/4th were at South Dona when the Austrian attack began. They moved in lorries to Carriola at noon and marched to Casa Magnaboschi where they remained through the 16th.

July and August were quieter, with a few patrols mounted; late August 1/4th were at Granezza in Brigade Reserve. 28th August a raid was mounted commanded by 2nd Lt. F. Alcock and 25 men from 'C' Company and 2nd Lt. W.M. Shepstone and 25 men from 'A' Company. The raid was on the enemy line at Sec. The result was 3 Austrians captured and cost 15 wounded (including 2nd Lt. Shepstone).

1st October the 1/4th were at Club Camp. 3rd to 11th October in the front-line.

23rd October the 1/4th mounted a raid on enemy positions at Ave. Almost the whole battalion was involved in the raid, the aim being to kill or capture the entire Austrian garrison. A 4 minute artillery barrage started the raid:

Major E.E. Wookey :

"'C' Company. Left - met with machine-gun fire and resistance from enemy front trench opposite Ave. This was soon overcome and a machine-gun captured. Wire here new and not very thick. Company then attacked further objectives. A few of the enemy were captured in the front line towards Silvegnar and 20 men, running away towards T. Ghelpac, were machine-gunned. Majority of prisoners obtained in Maxim dug-outs, 7 of which were set on fire..... Total captures of the Company were 3 machine-guns and about 50 prisoners.
'B' Company. Centre - captured several enemy shell holes in front of wire, found wire poor, passed straight to objectives. Quarry is apparently a headquarters of some kind.... 20 prisoners captured here. B Redoubt had many dug-outs and had a large garrison who showed fight until outflanked from the rear, 30 to 40 prisoners taken here.... Total captures - 60 prisoners, 3 machine-guns.
'A' Company. Right - went straight through to their objectives and cleared the Lowe dug-outs.... about 100 prisoners and 2 machine-guns were obtained from these.
'D' Company - Two platoons attacked and occupied front line from Ave to Lone Tree House, the remainder provided a flank guard and a battalion reserve. This Company captured 15 prisoners and 2 machine-guns.
Battalion Headquarters remained throughout the raid at Red Redoubt. Runner communication was maintained with companies and signal communication with brigade throughout the whole period in the enemy line.
Withdrawal was effected at zero plus fifty minutes, area then being reported entirely clear of the enemy..... Total casualties - 1 killed, 3 wounded, 3 wounded (remained at duty), 1 Jugo-Slav killed."

201990 Private Walter Lewis Styles killed in action 24 October 1918.

DCM - 201099 Sergeant C. Bees - (London Gazette 10 Jan. 1920) - "For conspicuous gallantry in command of a platoon during a raid on Ave on night 23rd to 24th October 1918. He rushed a party of the enemy outside a dug-out, bayoneting several and causing the rest to surrender. He then proceeded to his final objective, capturing a machine gun and crew and clearing all the dug-outs in the vicinity."

265502 Corporal G.J. Fry - (London Gazette 10 Jan. 1920) - "For conspicuous gallantry and dash during a raid on Ave on the night of the 23rd to 24th October 1918. Before his section had cleared their objective they were held up by an enemy machine gun. He rushed it single-handed, bombing the team and killing or capturing the entire crew. He set a magnificent example, and throughout the operations showed great determination and courage."

The battalion was relieved for several days, on 28th October it went back into the front-line.
29th October - it was reported that the enemy had retired and patrols were sent forward towards Tal and Campo Rovere. Nothing was found.

1st November - at 5.45 am the 1/4th and 1/6th Glosters launched an attack, the 1/4th captured enemy trenches at Bosco but also met stiff resistance.

202803 Private A. Smith - (London Gazette 25 Feb. 1920) - "During the recent operations on the Asiago Plateau on 1st November 1918, as company runner when his company were held up by heavy machine-gun fire. Three attempts to get back a message were fruitless. Making a fourth attempt, he succeeded in getting back his message, and then returned over the same ground. Later, he deliberately exposed himself and attracted the attention of hostile machine gunners in order to cover the retirement of his comrades."

3rd November the 1/4th were billeted at Ischia, marching there via Vezzena abd Caldonazza. They were there when the Armistice came into effect.
Awards for Italy (War Diary, Nov 1918-Jan 1919):

Captain F.A. Browning - bar to MC (Nov)
Lieutenant G.C. Carter - MC (Dec)
Lieutenant C.H. Chaffer - Italian Silver Medal for Valour (Nov), MC (Jan)
Lieutenant W.J. Dutton - MC (Nov)
Lieutenant C.R. Failis - Italian Croce di Guerra (Dec)
2nd Lieutenant R.B. Lambert - Italian Croce di Guerra (Nov)
Captain R. Lowe - MC (Nov)
Captain E.W. Thompson - Italian Silver Medal for Valour (Nov), MC (Jan)
2nd Lieutenant F.A. Webster - MC (Nov)
Major E.E. Wookey - Italian Silver Medal for Valour (Nov)

21272 Private C.A. Arthurs - bar to MM (Dec)
20497 Sergeant T. Ashcroft - Italian Bronze Medal for Valour (Nov)
201149 Sergeant G. Barnfield - MM (Nov)
201099 Sergeant C. Bees - DCM (Nov)
265035 CSM G. Blackbourne - MM (Nov)
23507 Private A. Blatchford - Italian Bronze Medal for Valour (Nov)
38670 Private G.T. Collins - MM (Nov)
201333 Corporal W. Cryer - Italian Croce di Guerra (Nov)
201008 Sergeant T. Denby - MM (Nov)
26632 Sergeant C. Dunster - Italian Croce di Guerra (Nov)
200489 CQMS A. Dyer - MM (Nov), MSM (Jan)
265502 Corporal G.J. Fry
- DCM (Nov)
33191 Private T. Hammond - Italian Silver Medal for Valour (Dec)
200071 Corporal W. Harris - bar to MM (Dec)
240333 Sergeant C.H. Hayward - bar to MM (Dec)
200379 Lance-Corporal W.H. Hospon - MM (Nov), bar to MM (Dec)
202101 Private A. Hutchings - Italian Bronze Medal for Valour (Nov), bar to MM (Dec)
201141 Sergeant A. James - Italian Croce di Guerra (Nov)
200617 Sergeant G. Lane - MM (Nov)
201943 Private A. Marchant - MM (Nov)
200482 Lance-Corporal G.J. Radford - bar to MM (Dec)
38615 Private J. Reading - bar to MM (Dec)
200065 R.S.M. J.S. Sanders - Italian Silver Medal for Valour (Nov). bar to MM (Dec)
201431 Sergeant S.O. Shell - Italian Bronze Medal for Valour (Nov)
202803 Private A. Smith - DCM (Dec)
201780 Lance-Sergeant E.H. Sprague - MM (Nov)
200347 Sergeant W. Taylor - MM (Nov)
200273 Sergeant W. Toplin - MM (Nov)
200504 Private H.Q. Weymouth - Italian Croce di Guerra (Nov)
200870 CSM J.R. Wilcox - MM (Nov)