July 18th 1917

KCB FOR CAPTAIN TYRWHITT

Capt. Reginald Tyrwhitt, CB, DSO, RN (Commodore, First Class).

The Times today has the joyous news of the award of a Dragon KCB:

“Captain Tyrwhitt has been concerned in some of the most brilliant naval exploits of the war, and the honour conferred on him by the King is well deserved. He commanded the destroyer flotillas in the famous action with a German squadron in Heligoland Bight on August 28th 1914. Concerning this action, which resulted in the destruction of the cruisers Mainz, Ariadne and Koln, the official despatch stated ‘his attack was delivered with great skill and gallantry.’ On the same date he was made CB…

He led the destroyer flotillas in the Dogger Bank action of January 24th 1915 and was in command of the Arethusa when she struck a mine and was wrecked off the east coast in February 1916.

Captain Tyrwhitt was awarded the DSO in June 1916, ‘in recognition of services rendered in the prosecution of the war,’ and was decorated Commander of the Legion of Honour by the President of the French Republic in September 1916.

A scouting force of light cruisers and destroyers under Captain Tyrwhitt, on May 10th of the present year, chased 11 German destroyers for 80 minutes and engaged them at long range until they took refuge under the batteries of Zeebrugge. Only the precipitate flight of the enemy’s ships saved them from disaster.

A few weeks later, on June 5th, a force of light cruisers and destroyers under his command engaged six German destroyers at long range, and in a running fight one of the enemy’s ships, S20, was sunk and another was severely damaged.”

 

In addition, the London Gazette lists Lieut.-Col Stuart Taylor (West Yorks) as having been awarded the DSO:

“For conspicuous gallantry when in command of the right of an infantry attack. The attacking troops having been compelled to fall back, he collected the remnants of his battalion and about 100 men of other units, and, regardless of a heavy fire, he organised these in defence of a position, and by his fine example of courage and skill he successfully resisted three counter-attacks, and thus saved a critical situation.”

Fluff will no doubt be demanding another half-holiday for the boys on the back of this when he next visits!

 

To these awards, we should also note these honours which have been acquired in the course of this term:

 

Lieut.- Col AR Haig Brown (Middlesex Regiment) and Major S Low (RGA) have both been awarded the DSO.

Capt. GK Rose MC (OBLI) now has a Bar to his Military Cross. The citation reads:

“When in command of a raid on the enemy’s trenches, he displayed the greatest skill and energy. He organized an effective resistance to the enemy counter attack, and conducted a masterly withdrawal under heavy machine gun and rifle fire.”

The Croix de Guerre has been awarded to Capt. JD Denniston (RNR) and 2nd Lieut. CM Hughes-Games (Gloucs), has the MC:

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He displayed great coolness and initiative when in command of a daylight patrol, obtaining valuable information. He has at all times displayed great gallantry under fire.”

 

 

December 13th 1915

Lieut. Arthur Egerton, late of 3rd West Yorks and 11th Hussars, is now with the Royal Artillery and is in charge of a trench mortar battery in France, where the winter conditions are as much the enemy as the Boche:

4/12/15.  “Nearly all our dug-outs are swimming in water and we have to pump hard every day to get the water out by big hand pumps and also dig pits for it to drain off, but these fill in no time…

Some of our guns were nearly under water and our bomb stores, so we must dig new emplacements and ammunition recesses. There is very little trench fighting now, it is nearly all artillery (situated a mile or more back) – as you can barely walk about in the thick slimy clay and infantry can’t move at all. Under half a mile an hour (a bit slow for a charge!), but there is a good deal of mining going on, on both sides. Several have been exploded and the thing is to occupy the empty craters (if they are between the lines) as soon as possible, before the enemy can get there first.

Several deserters told us of mines that were to explode on our front on particular days and we were able to take the necessary steps in time. We get a good deal of information from prisoners and deserters, especially about the state of internal affairs in Germany. These are circulated to the officers in intelligence reports marked ‘confidential.’

Our snipers account for a good many of the German ones each day; we have those hyposcope rifles by which you can aim in safety without showing your head in the fire trenches.”

In more recent correspondence Arthur added:

“The water is now four or five inches deep and above my ankles on the floor of my dug-out, but I can sit with my feet on a shelf and it hasn’t reached the level of my bed yet! We are having to abandon several of our dug-outs and places, but it is the same everywhere, let us hope with the Boches too.”

March 15th 1915

Ruttledge MC

Capt. JF Ruttledge

In this week’s ‘London Gazette’ is the announcement that Jack Ruttledge, now a Captain in the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment), has been honoured with the award of the Military Cross.

The citation reads, ‘For great coolness and gallantry on 19th December 1914, near Neuve Chapelle. When his company were moving over open ground under very heavy fire, many casualties occurred and Lieutenant Ruttledge remained to the last, helping the wounded away to cover.’

 * * * * * * *

An anonymous Old Dragon has written in to give us a glimpse on the sort of life being enjoyed in the trenches at present.

“In the Trenches

La Belle France

March 12th 1915

 The last three days and nights were very noisy and a bit bomby and grenadey. On several occasions we had Brigade orders to open heavy machine gun and rifle fire at the German breastworks backed up by artillery fire at a certain time, and the row usually lasted for about half-an-hour. These unaccustomed bursts of activity were partly to make the Huns as nervy as possible, and partly to prevent them sending reinforcements while attacks were being made between here and * * * * *   (censored).

I was rather lucky in not getting hit the other day. I was working with two men a few yards behind the parados, where one ought, barring accidents, to be pretty safe, when a rifle grenade suddenly dropped and exploded six yards from us. We felt the shock of the explosion and gust of hot air in our faces, but none of us got hurt. We have been sending quite a lot over into their trench (70 yards distant) lately, and they invariably send just the same number back. Some 15” howitzers have arrived at the front, and are apparently found to be a great success. They say that if one of these shells drops in a decent sized factory it absolutely levels the whole place.”

Whereas further south, in the region of the Somme, it is possible to dig deep trenches with underground dug-outs, we understand that in the Ypres area the water table is much higher and such trenches are nigh impossible to build.

“I don’t know if I have explained to you that we aren’t in actual trenches at all, but behind a parapet made of sand bags riveted up with sheets of corrugated iron, hurdles etc., with earth thrown up on the enemy’s side. This parapet varies in height, but I should say the average is between 6 and 7 feet.

This sort of breastwork is of course only of use when we are too near to the enemy to have much fear of artillery fire. The old earth trenches became uninhabitable long ago on account of the mud, but the men still have to dig in where they get shelled, as of course our parapets are no protection against shell-fire.”

Trench pic