Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own

Local Newspaper Reports on the 4th Battalion at Kemmel and Armentieres.
[All the information on this page has been researched and kindly contributed by Kevin Galloway of Thornaby on Tees.]
North-Eastern  Daily  Gazette

9 OCTOBER 1915.

1397 Acting Company Serjeant-Major A M McKay, 1st/4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, T.F.
For conspicuous and consistent gallantry and devotion to duty throughout his period of service with the Battalion.
On the night of the 5th-6th July 1915, near Wulverghem, he assisted an Officer to place eight "knife rests" [entanglements] in position only 40 yards from the German trench, while exposed to heavy rifle fire.
On the night of 6th-7th August he assisted the same Officer to complete the work of wiring in front of his fire trench, after the remainder of the wiring party had been withdrawn owing to heavy machine gun fire.


An interesting ceremony took place in the grounds of the Hill Crest V.A.D. Hospital, Coventry, when Sergeant McKay of the Yorks Regiment, whose home address is 32 Clarendon Road, Middlesbrough was presented with the Distinguished Conduct Medal by Col Marsh, Administrator of the Southern General Hospital, Birmingham.
[V.A.D. were Voluntary Aid Detachments provided by members of the British Red Cross and the Order of St John.]
Sergeant McKay was awarded the D.C.M. some time ago and his colleagues at Messrs Richardsons, Westgarth and Co, where he was employed before the war, presented him some months ago with a gold watch in recognition of his gallantry.
On the occasion of the adjusting of the medal at Coventry there was a large company, which included the soldier patients at Hill Crest and those from the Coventry and Warwickshire and from the Courtlands Hospital.
The medal was awarded for patrol duty and the erection of wire defences under machine gun fire and Col Marsh warmly congratulated Sergeant McKay on his success. Col Marsh called for cheers for the gallant Sergeant and they were given enthusiastically.
Sgt McKay suitably returned thanks and said he was very pleased to receive the medal and hoped that many other men with the force would have similar good fortune.
[In July/August 1915 when Sgt McKay displayed the bravery for which his DCM was awarded the 4th Yorks Battalion had been moved South from Ypres. Wulverghem is a small French village to the East of Dranoutre, halfway between Ypres and Armentieres. It is not known whether he suffered the wounds that put him in Hospital at this time or later. His Medal Card issued after the War shows that he was transferred to the Royal Engineers some time before March 1917.]

MONDAY. 26 JULY 1915.


In a letter to Mr E I'Anson of Brotton, Private David Taylor, 4th Yorks, says:- We have just completed six days in the trenches, where we had quite new experiences. One of the most outstanding features was the blowing up of a great many mines, both English and German. Our mines were by far the most effective. Most of the enemy's mines were several yards short. Another thing we noticed was the difference between the Saxon and other of the German troops. We were holding an advance trench about 15 yards away from the enemy, and when the German trench was held by the Saxons the occupants would shout and talk with us, but when another class of German soldiers took charge we could easily tell by their sullen demeanour as they refused to be talkative.
[At this time the 4th Battalion were in the Kemmel area. On the 8th August they moved to Armentieres.]


The parents of Pte William Alsop of Yarm, N Yorks have today received an intimation of the death of their son. For some weeks Pte Alsop of the 4th Yorks has been engaged in the dangerous work of sniping as the Officers of his regiment discovered that he was a crack marksman. On one occasion he discerned a German Officer with powerful glasses in the act of surveying the British trenches, when he at once took aim and shattered the German's glasses. Prior to his enlistment for active service, Pte Alsop was well known throughout the North Riding, particularly amongst the miniature rifle clubs as one of the best shots in the North Riding. Every sympathy is felt in Yarm for the parents of Pte Alsop in their bereavement.
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