August 28th 1918

In addition to the Military Crosses won recently by Jim MacLean, Pat Campbell and Philip Frere, we must record the honours gained over recent months by eight other Old Dragons.

Bar to DSO

Lt.-Col. JGP Romanes (Royal Scots): “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He commanded his battalion with great skill and courage in a night attack. Under his leadership the battalion captured all its objectives without check, inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy, captured over 50 prisoners, and consolidated all the ground won under intense shell fire.” (London Gazette 26/8/18).

DSO

Capt. EH Evans (Royal Welch Fusiliers): “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack. He showed great skill in consolidating and organising against counter-attack. He moved about the firing line continuously encouraging the men and organising the defences.” (London Gazette 18/8/18).

Maj. EHW Williams (Hussars): “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led a mounted charge along a hostile line, after the infantry line had broken back, taking the line in flank, and in the face of the heaviest machine-gun fire, he carried out the manoeuvre successfully, sabring nearly 100 of the enemy, and taking 100 prisoners, although his own troop was only 150. His fine action rallied the infantry, who advanced and recovered over 3,000 yards in depth of the whole line.” (London Gazette 26/7/18).

2nd Bar to MC

Capt. CM Hughes Games (Gloucs). “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Whilst in command of the support company of the battalion he displayed wonderful energy and determination in checking the enemy advance, which had broken into our front line. He formed a block and organised its defence with machine-guns until badly wounded by a sniper. His example of courageous coolness was responsible for holding the hostile advance, and gave his battalion time to reorganise and take up a new defensive position.” (London Gazette 18/7/18).

MC

Capt. GC Drinkwater (RFA). (London Gazette 16/1/18).

Capt. RJK Mott (Special List). (London Gazette 3/6/18).

Lieut. DEI Innes (RE). (London Gazette 3/6/18).

Capt. CP Warren (Rifle Brigade). (London Gazette 3/6/18).

August 22nd 1918

Lieut. Will Scott

Capt. Walter Moberly

2nd Lieut. Gifford Turrell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, August 22nd, evokes mixed emotions, being the anniversary of the death of Will Scott on the one hand, and on the other hand, the occasion when Walter Moberly won his DSO.

They both took part in an attack made by the Ox & Bucks as a small part of the third battle at Ypres, along with Gifford Turrell, whilst another Old Dragon, Geoffrey Roserecorded events for posterity.

Whilst Walter’s conduct earned him the DSO, Will Scott was killed leading his company into the attack and Gifford Turrell suffered such severe wounds that he died of them nearly three months later. Thus, tragedy outweighed any pleasure one might have derived from Walter’s triumph.

 

We are very proud that the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry has included no fewer than 22 Old Dragons in their ranks:

Capt. LWH Bailie – mentioned in despatches; wounded

2nd Lieut. OC Blencowe – killed on the Somme (1916)

Major JJ Conybeare – MC

Lieut. LS Dowson – wounded

Lieut. JCB Gamlen

Lieut. JTS Hoey – Croix de Guerre; wounded

2nd Lieut. FH Holt – attached to Tank Corps

2nd Lieut. H Jefferson – killed near Ypres (1917)

Capt. S Marcon

Capt. WH Moberly – DSO, thrice wounded; twice mentioned in despatches

Lieut. JE Pogson Smith

Major DM Rose – wounded

Major GK Rose – MC & Bar; mentioned in despatches

Major RRS Rowell

Lieut. WD Scott – killed near Ypres (1917)

2nd Lieut. HA Smith – wounded

Lieut. HEF Smyth

Capt. RF Symonds – Croix de Guerre; twice wounded

2nd Lieut. HG Turrell – died of his wounds (November 1917)

Capt. WJL Wallace – disabled & invalided from the Service

Lieut. CL Wicks

August 16th 1918

Lieut. Brian Bickmore (RN)

Brian Bickmore has been the victim of an tragic accident. His ship, the destroyer HMS Comet, was escorting SS Gordonia from Taranto to Malta when they collided on August 4th.

The Captain of HMS Comet, despite it being a very difficult time for him (as you will read below), has been able to furnish the family with the following details concerning Brian’s death:

“He was in his cabin at the time, and it was completely destroyed by the ship which ran into us. He must have been killed instantly. Nothing was ever seen of him afterwards, although a thorough search was made.”

Brian had served for nearly three years in the Mediterranean and was expected home on leave when the accident happened.

At the OPS he was a keen, determined boy with a merry twinkle in his eye, loyal and affectionate. He was full of life, and took the keenest interest in his work.

HMS Comet

Two days afterwards (on August 6th), HMS Comet, having lost a significant part of her stern as a result of the collision, was herself under tow when an explosion occurred, which sank the ship.

This short article in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ must surely refer to HMS Comet’s demise:

Daily Telegraph, 14/8/1918

 

 

 

August 11th 1918

After a considerable period of time, we have heard from Capt. Jack Smyth (Sikhs, Indian Army) with his news:

21.7.18 “I’ve been travelling about a good deal lately; I left my regiment last Christmas up in Pershawar and went down to the Central Provinces to the Staff School, where I remained for three months. It was most awfully hard work, but all very interesting, and we had long days riding all over the country doing schemes…

Shortly after the course was over, I was appointed Brigade Major, Bombay, which was about the best job I could have got, and I went there in April.

I was then transferred as Brigade Major, 43rd Brigade, Lahore. Of course this place, being in the Punjab, is fiendishly hot in the hot weather (it has been 118° in the shade by day and 97° in a room with electric fans by night), but the work is interesting and there are heaps of troops here.

One thing I did love about Bombay was the sea; the yachting season was just over, but I did a good deal of bathing.

In the Yacht Club all men bowed down to me on account of my being one of the crew of the ‘Blue Dragon.’ You have no idea how the fame of the ‘Blue Dragon’ has spread in Bombay. I was always introduced as ‘Capt. Smyth, one of the crew of the ‘Blue Dragon’ you know,’ whereupon I was looked upon with awe, the choicest wines were produced, I was asked innumerable questions by people who knew the Log off by heart, my opinion was asked on different rigs which I knew nothing about, and I received numerous offers to go as ‘crew’ on some of the best yachts for next season.

So, if ever Skipper chances to go to the Yacht Club, Bombay, they will receive him with open arms…”

What an enticing thought, but I suspect Jack was diverting attention away from talk of his VC exploits.

August 5th 1918

We have two more Military Crosses to celebrate – both listed in the London Gazette of July 26th.

Capt. PB Frere (KRRC): “He covered 1000 yards of open ground under extremely heavy fire to inform the battalion on the left that we were about to withdraw. Again, next day he personally, under heavy machine-gun fire at close range, took orders for withdrawals to two companies, and was largely responsible for the successful withdrawal of his battalion. He exhibited great courage and cheerfulness under most trying conditions.” 

Although Philip did not mention this incident specifically, it seems likely to fit in with the events of March 24th which he described in his last letter.

Lieut. PJ Campbell (RFA): “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He directed the fire of his battery from a most exposed position, inflicting heavy casualties on the advancing enemy. During the whole retirement he occupied most forward positions, exposing himself to great danger, and supplied much valuable information throughout.” 

Pat too was doing his best to hold back the advancing Germans on March 24th.