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1/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

Territorials. Late 2nd Volunteer Battalion
Awarded 16 battle honours: France & Flanders 1915-18. Ypres 1917. Langemarck 1917. Somme 1916.
Albert 1916. Pozieres. Polygon Wood. Broodseinde. Poelcapelle. Cambrai 1918.
Hindenburg Line. Beaurevoir. Selle. Sambre. Italy 1917-18. Piave.
Died: 30 officers and 557 men.

South Midland Division (48th Division)

South Midland Infantry Brigade (145th Brigade)
1/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment
4th Battalion Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry
8th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment

1914

Started annual training at Marlow. 3rd August they returned to Gloucester. On mobilization they moved to the Isle of Wight until relieved by the 3rd Hants. They then moved to Swindon. Mid-August the 1/5th moved to Chelmsford.

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 Bn strength was 28 officers and 916 men, commanded by Lt-Col. J.H. Collett.

The 1/5th Bn landed at Boulougne 11pm on 29th March 1915. Next day they moved by train to Cassel, then marched to Steenvoorde. 3rd April the Division was reviewed by General Smith-Dorrien, 4th April 145th Brigade marched to billets in the Oultersteen area. 7th April the Brigade moved to Le Bizet to begin instruction in trench warfare. The 1/5th were attached to 11th Infantry Brigade (4th Division) at Ploegsteert.

On the evening of 8th April was the Battalion moved into the trenches for the first time. At 10 am 9th April their first casualty was reported as Sergt. Lloyd "wounded by a sniper." On 12th April the Brigade marched to billets between Bailleul and Steenwerck.

15th April the Brigade moved into trenches in Ploegsteert wood. Two officers died in an accidental explosion (Lieuts. Barnett and Guise). At the end of June they moved to Noeux-les-Mines and then into trenches at Doullens on 20th July.

3rd August a patrol of the 1/5th met a German patrol in No-Man's Land. The Glosters charged, killing 3 of the enemy and the rest fled back to their line.

Lance-Corporal F.W. Harvey (London Gaz. 15 Sept. 1915) - "For conspicuous gallantry on the night of the 3rd-4th August 1915, near Hebuterne, when, with a patrol, he and another NCO went out to reconnoitre in the direction of a suspected listening post. In advancing they encountered the hostile post evidently covering a working party in the rear. Cpl. Knight at once shot one of the enemy, and with L/Cpl. Harvey, rushed the post, shooting two others, and assistance arriving the enemy fled. L/Cpl. Harvey pursued, felling one of the retreating Germans with a bludgeon. He seized him, but finding his revolver empty and the enemy having opened fire, he was called back by Cpl. Knight, and the prisoners escaped. Three Germans were killed and their rifles and a Mauser pistol was brought in. The patrol had no loss."

Corporal R.E. Knight (London Gaz. 15 Sept. 1915) - "For conspicuous gallantry on the night of the 3rd-4th August 1915, near Hebuterne, when, in command of a patrol, he went out to reconnoitre in the direction of a suspected listening post. In advancing he encountered the hostile post evidently covering a working party in the rear. Cpl. Knight at once shot one of the enemy, and with L/Cpl. Harvey, rushed the post, shooting two others, and assistance arriving the enemy fled. Three Germans were killed and their rifles and a Mauser pistol was brought in. The patrol had no loss."

The rest of the year was spent in and out of the front line in the same sector.

1916

January 1916 the 1/5th were still in the Hebuterne sector. The next 5 months were spent in preparations for the Battle of the Somme.

DCM - Sergeant J.C.W. Jennings (London Gaz. 11 March 1916) - "For consistent good work and good leadership, including patrol work."

DCM - Sergeant A. Faville (London Gaz. 11 March 1916) - "For consistent good work and good leadership."

June 1916 the Battalion strength was 35 officers and 913 men.

1st July 1916 the 1/5th were at Couin. They moved forward to reserve positions at Mailly-Maillet. Back to Couin on the 3rd, into front line at Hebuterne 4th July.

To Sailly Dell 8th July, front line 12th. On 13th July a raid was mounted but driven back by strong enemy fire. 2nd Lieut. Houghton and 5 men were wounded.

Relieved to Couin 16th, Bouzincourt 17th, trenches near Ovillers 19th July. That night an attack by the 1/5th near Ovillers was driven back. A second attack on the same position on the 20th was also driven back. In both attacks the 1/5th lost Lieut. W. Fream and 2nd Lieut. C.V.N. Puckridge and about 50 men killed, Captain H.C.B. Sessions, 2nd Lieut P. Baldham and almost 60 men were wounded, 2nd Lieut. J. Farrimond was missing.

An attack near Pozieres 21st July was also unsuccessful, 2nd Lieuts. R.E. Knight (died same day), K.G. Durrant and F.R. Bell were wounded. Another attack on the 22nd met with little success and cost 2nd Lieut. W.B. Lycett (died of wounds), Captains R.J.C. Little, F.W. Cole, L.R.C. Sumner, R.N.F. Cooke, Lieut. H.S. King, 2nd Lieuts. L.J. Clayton and W.J. Pearce wounded and 12 men killed, 113 wounded and 23 missing.

At 3.30am 23rd July the 1/5th were relieved to Tara Valley (The position was finally captured later that day by the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.

Back to front line 25th, to Lealvillers 26th, Beauval 28th, Cramont 29th, Beauval 9th August.

To Varennes 10th August. Bouzincourt 11th August, reserve trenches near Albert brickworks 13th August.

16th August an attack on Skyline Trench failed, 2nd Lieut. D.G. Durrant and 3 men killed, 2nd Lieuts. J.H.A. Wood, R.L. Harmsworth, N. Vears, F. Chapman and 99 men wounded, 21 men missing.

Attack north of Ovillers 18th August in support of 1/4th Royal Berkshires.

Front line Skyline and Ration Trenches 19th August then back to Bouzincourt.

To support trenches at Donnet Post 23rd August, front line 25th August.

27th August an attack on enemy trenches resulted in 50 prisoners and around 200 enemy killed. The attack cost Lieuts. L.W. Moore, C.W. Winterbotham, 2nd Lieuts. A.L. Apperley and C. Brien and 14 men killed, 2nd Lieuts L.N. Graves-Smith and W.F. Rigger and 84 men wounded, 10 men missing.

Relieved to Bouzincourt 28th August, Bus-les-Artois 29th August, trenches opposite Beaumont-Hamel 8th September. Bois de Warnimont 10th September, Beauval 11th, Vacqueries and Gorges 18th, Humbercourt 29th September, Warlincourt 1st October, Henu 7th, Warlincourt 8th, Henu 9th, trenches in Hebuterne sector 14th October.

Henu 16th October, Warlincourt 19th, Humbercourt 20th, Beauval 22nd, Talmas 23rd, Behencourt 24th, Millencourt 31st October, Dingle Camp 1st November, trenches near Le Sars 2nd, Martinpuich 5th, Dingle Camp 6th, Shelter Wood 10th, front line at Le Sars 14th November, support line at Martinpuich 16th and front line 18th November.

 

1917

 

1918

April 1918 the Battalion relieved the Warwicks in trenches on Mount Granezza (Asiago Plateau). Frequent thunderstorms.

Saturday 15th June, at 2.30 am the Austrians started a huge bombardment, including gas shells. At 6 am the enemy attack was launched and broke through the right sector of the Battalion front line. The Battalion HQ Staff put up a stubborn resistance, during which the Adjutant, Capt. B.V. Bruton, was killed. Capt. Coote ('C' Coy.) made a flanking move and stemmed the attack. By the next morning the positions had been retaken and secured. Capt. Reubenstein, (O.C. 'A' Coy.) was captured at the beginning of the Austrian attack. The Battalion then moved back to a reserve position. 2 DCM's were awarded to the Battalion:

R.A. Burton - Sjt. - 30 Oct. 1918 - 1/5th Bn. - for Italy. Battle of Piave, 15th June 1918 - "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy attack. As signalling serjeant he remained to the last, removing his instruments and destroying what had to be left, killing one of the enemy in order to get away. He then tried twice at great personal risk to get communication by tapping into brigade lines, once nearly being captured. He subsequently took charge of a Lewis gun section and with great skill covered the exposed flank until touch was regained. Finally he went back to brigade, reported the situation, and with another man ran out 1500 yards of line to re-establish communications. He did splendid service."

H.G.A. Pike - Pte. - 3rd Sept. 1919 - 1/5th Bn. - for Italy - "For consistent gallantry and good work as a stretcher-bearer on numerous occasions, and notably on 15th June 1918, during enemy attack near Mte. Lemerle, Asiago Plateau. When it became impossible to carry away more wounded he carried messages under fire, and later took charge of a rifle section and handled it with conspicuous ability."

September the Battalion returned to France to join the 25th Division. 3rd October the Battalion was near St. Emelie and on 5th Oct. went into action near Hargicourt, securing several objectives. 9th Oct. Maretz was captured. One DCM was awarded:

G.D. Cobb - Pte. - 2 Dec. 1919 - 1/5th Bn. - "For conspicuous gallantry at Maretz on 9th October 1918. He entered a house with his platoon serjeant in which were a number of the enemy, of whom they forced fifteen to surrender, but an officer went back and appeared again with a machine gun, which he was bringing into action through a window. He immediately rushed him single-handed, capturing him and the machine gun. His fine action saved many casualties."

18th Oct. the Battalion went into action at St. Benin (2 miles south of Le Cateau). 23rd Oct. Bazule was captured by the Battalion. Private Miles was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during this attack. Also, 1 DCM was awarded:

W. Peacey - Cpl. - 10 Jan. 1920 - 1/5th Bn. - "For most gallant leadership during the attack on Bazuel on 18th October 1918. When ordered to clear a hedge on the company flank he led his section ably forward, capturing two machine guns and four of the enemy, thus enabling his company to move forward. Later he, with his section, rushed an enemy position, personally accounting for two of the enemy and the capture of about fourteen."

At dawn on 4th November the Battalion launched an attack on Landrecies, taking their objective. Capt. S.F. Hill, MC ('D' Coy.) was killed during the attack. The Battalion was awarded 3 DCM's:

A.J. Hornegold - LCpl. - 10 Jan. 1920 - 1/5th Bn. - "For fine leadership and ability near Landrecies on the 4th November 1918. Although early wounded, he continued to lead his section forward with marked gallantry. When the company was held-up by machine-gun fire he took his section forward on the flank, enabling the advance to be continued. He remained with his section throughout the action."

G.W. Hobbs, MM - Sjt. - 10 Jan 1920 - 1/5th Bn. - "Near Landrecies, on 4th November 1918, when his company commander was wounded, he showed great courage and determined leadership in dealing with two hostile machine guns which were holding up the company. Upon reaching the Sambre Canal he led his company under heavy fire being the first man across the canal."

W. Bromage - CSM - 10 Jan. 1920 - 1/5th Bn. - "For conspicuous gallantry near Landrecies on the 4th November 1918. During the advance he showed great coolness and ability in helping to organize attacks on mchine-gun posts. He has done most excellent work in all the recent operations, especially in the attack near Bazuel on 18th October."

11th November the Armistice came into effect.