Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own
Page 26. June/July 1916. Trenches at Kemmel.
The Military Medal.
The third highest award to NCO's and men of the Army after the Victoria Cross and the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
It was instituted by King George V on the 25th March 1916.
The number, rank and name of the recipient was inscribed around the edge.

28th JUNE to 2nd JULY. The whole Bn worked for the Royal Engineers.
During this time for Gallantry on the night of the 16th:-
1423 Company Sergeant Major Reed A.A. was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
2732 L/Cpl Eaglesham was awarded the Military Medal.
41 other ranks were received as reinforcements.

3rd JULY. The Bn were moved to another Camp, where they took over from the 6th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers.

Diary - The camp is in view of the Germans and as the strength of the 6th N.F. is about half that of the 4th Yorks the congestion is appalling.
The Bn was transferred to the 149th Brigade and the 6th NF, who took over our old Camp were transferred to the 150th Bde.
No notice of this re-arrangement was received until the 5th.

4th to 7th JULY. Diary - Working parties for the Sig Co were supplied each night. Arrangements most unsatisfactory, guides being invariably late in meeting parties. Great loss of working power caused and much irritation to the men.
2nd Lt Ewart Richardson [kia 27 Sep 1916] poetically described the communication trenches in this area in summer:-
Last night a strange thought came to me. I was with a working party in the trenches.

We had come up the communication trench, zig-zagged our way thither for a mile and a half or more. Now this time of year the communication trench is a thing of beauty. On either side the piled earth has covered itself with vegetation, fresh thick grass, heavy growths of bunched white daisies interspersed with blood-red poppies. The daisies are, in fact, camomile, so I am assured by one who is by way of being a botanical expert. And through the camomile and poppies we make our way to the line. Through camomile and poppies we make our way back to rest and peace for a brief spell. Through camomile and poppies are borne the wounded, their bandages of white splashed with scarlet, like the flowers themselves, and through camomile and poppies passes the last sad procession when, over the line, death has suddenly shaken his dread spear.

61366 Pte Morgan James. Home at Gateshead, Durham, place of birth. Enlisted at Newcastle upon Tyne. Died at home on the 4th July. Age 20. Buried at Gateshead East Cemetery.
8th JULY. The Bn relieved 2 Leinsters in Trenches G1 to G3L and 14th Middlesex in G4 to J3.
Lt William Dickenson Hubbard Born in 1894 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. Eldest son of the late Charles William Hubbard of “Riversdale”, Sleaford. He first served in the ranks of the Lincolnshire Regiment before his commission.
Gazetted in April 1915 he joined the 4th Yorks Battalion in France at Armentieres in August of 1915. He served with them at Ypres until March 1916, when he was promoted to Lt and posted to the 2nd Yorks Battn in April. When the Battle of the Somme opened on July 1st 1916 Lt Hubbard led the men of “B” company out at 7-30am for an attack on the village of Montauban. After this first fierce action the battalion spent some days reorganising and burying their dead. On July 8th they were back in action at 7-15am assaulting Trones Wood. Many casualties were incurred crossing the fire swept ground between Bernafay Wood and Trones and Lt William Dickenson Hubbard fell in this action on July 8th 1916, aged 28. His body was lost and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Pte Frank Thornton. [Photograph kindly contributed by John Sheen, author of Tyneside Irish, Durham Pals and Wearside Battalion.]

9th JULY. Trench mortar activity - 1 other rank wounded.

10th JULY. Capt W W Constantine, 2nd Lts T R Ginger, E L Perris, U A Bell and J S Beall received as reinforcements.
[2Lt Ginger was to win the MC and as Capt Ginger was the only officer left in charge after the Battalion was decimated on the Aisne in May 1918.] Good deal of trench mortaring killed 2 other ranks and wounded 1.

3203 Pte Spence Thomas, Watson. Home at Ovington Grange, Darlington. Born Whycliffe Yorks. Enlisted Richmond, N Yorks. Killed in action. Age 23. Buried at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery.
2417 Pte Thornton Frank. Home at Stapleton Darlington. Born at Cleasby, Yorks and enlisted at Northallerton, N Yorks. Killed in action. Age 20. Buried at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery.
Frank was one of three Darlington brothers, who all fought in the First World War.
There is more about Wilf elsewhere on this website. He served with the 4th Battalion, rose through the ranks to be awarded a commission and was taken prisoner in the German offensives of 1918.
A third brother served with the Royal Army Service Corps after being transferred, it is believed, from the 4th Battalion.
2117 Pte Whittaker Maxwell Born Brompton, N Yorks. Enlisted at Northallerton. Died at home of wounds Buried at Brompton St Thomas Churchyard.
Pte M. Whittaker.

Maxwell Whittaker was the fourth son of Mr & Mrs Langdale Whittaker of Amber Terrace, Brompton.
He had three elder brothers serving in the Army.
Ernest and Edward, both in the Royal Garrison Artillery.
Clayton who was a quartermaster Sergeant, who had served throughout the Gallipoli campaign and also in France.
He was a member of the Territorials when War broke out in 1914.
The exact date when Maxwell was wounded is not known, but he was taking part in a trench raid when a shell burst near him, injuring his spine.
He had to lay out in no-man's land for several hours before his comrades were able to bring him back in.
He was taken to one of the Base hospitals in Boulogne before being transferred to the King George's Hospital in London.
His Mother and Sister were able to visit him in hospital and it is reported that he was in great pain from his injuries.
He died of his wounds, following an operation, aged 25, on 10th July 1916 and was buried in Brompton Churchyard with full Military Honours on 14th July 1916.
[Photo and information courtesy of - Northallerton Memorials Project.]
Shell explosion in front of German trench.
[Picture courtesy of - "The Heritage of the Great War".].

11th JULY. The 7th Bn Northants attempted a raid from G1 into German trenches at Peckham. 2 men got into the German trenches but were bombed out.
4 other ranks of the 4th Yorks were wounded.

12th JULY. Boche trench mortars commenced firing at 6.20 a.m and continued until 11 a.m.
Trenches G.1.5 and G.2.5 were completely blown in and the front trench breached in 3 places.

201372 Pte Carter Arthur. Home at Darlington. Died. Commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres.
3988 Pte Greenfield William, Adam. Home at - 20 Essex St, Middlesbrough, N Yorks, place of enlistment. Died. Age 26. Buried at Calais Southern Cemetery
13th JULY. Trench mortar activity on Trenches G5 and H5. Also Crumps 4.2s and Whizzbangs. Very little damage done. Artillery retaliated and enemy trenches near Peckham knocked about.

5369 Pte Wren George. Home at 5 High St, Coatham, Redcar, N Yorks, place of birth and enlistment. Killed in action. Buried at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery.
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