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Argyll And Sutherland Highlanders

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Argyll And Sutherland Highlanders

Postby UrbanHistorian » Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:45 pm

Hi, I'm trying to track down the service record of John Wright service number S/14470 of the 2nd and then later 14th Bat. Argyll And Sutherland Highlanders. He was awarded the Military Medal, posted in the London Gazette on the 13th May 1919. Searched high and low on Ancestry and elsewhere, where I can find his Record card for the British War Medal and Victory Medal - there is is recorded as L/Sgt formerly CPL 2nd Bat. he was born 1893 in Paisley, Renfrewshire.

Any suggestions of where else to look? We're attempting to find out more about his service and why he was awarded the Military Medal to add to the information on the Roll of those who served displayed in his church in Paisley.

Many thanks in advance,
Stephen
UrbanHistorian
 
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Re: Argyll And Sutherland Highlanders

Postby Lyndale » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:20 am

Hi Stephen, I will attempt to help you. To start, please open the recent post from chipmunk1953 under the heading "Medal Citations", then to understand the problem with WW1 MM citations (or the lack thereof) see my reply dated June 27th. Then see my final reply and best possible info on when/why MM's were issued vis the date in the LG, go to my post July 11th. I will also try and find what else I can on S/14470 L/Sgt J. Wright from secondary sources. Will be back soon.
Regards Lyndale.
Lyndale
 
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Re: Argyll And Sutherland Highlanders

Postby UrbanHistorian » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:39 am

Thanks Lyndale, goodness knows how i missed the post on MM's!

From a distant family member i am told John Wright served in France and was injured, then returned to the war once recovered. He never spoke about what happened to his family, so they are just as much in the dark.

Stephen
UrbanHistorian
 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:31 pm

Re: Argyll And Sutherland Highlanders

Postby Lyndale » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:47 am

Dear Stephen, my research into S/14470 L/Sgt., John Wright, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during WW1 is as follows:-
(1) Enlistment and Service Details. I can confirm that John’s WW1 record is one of the 5 million destroyed during the 1940 London Blitz, when an incendiary bomb made a direct hit on the warehouse where the records were stored. However, by using secondary sources I can provide the following information. From John’s WW1 campaign medal card on Ancestry he received the British War Medal and Victory Medal, but did not receive either the 1914 Star or 1914/15 Star, the latter entitlement (and the opportunity to volunteer) ended 31.12.15. Therefore he went out to France sometime after 1st January 1916. As a single man aged 23 in 1916 he was probably a conscript called up in the first six months of January 1916, then with training, would have arrived in France as part of a reinforcement draft about mid-1916 to early-1917. John’s campaign BWM/VM medal Roll on Ancestry (this is different to the medal card) shows that he was posted to the 2nd Battalion A&SH and was already a Corporal when he disembarked. The 2nd Bn A&SH was part of 98th Brigade of the 33rd Division in 1916, which took part in the Somme Battles of July-Nov 1916 and the Battles of Arras April-Aug 1917 and First Ypres Sep 1917. There is added evidence (see below) that he was posted to the 14th (Service) Bn A&SH in 1918, but no date given, but I have estimated from the history of the 14th Bn A&SH that it was probably in July 1918, because he was cited for his MM when with the 14th Bn A&SH. The 14th A&SH was in 90th Brigade of the 30th Division when Germany launched its surprise Spring offensive, ‘Operation Michael’, on 21 March 1918, which pushed the British line back over 40 miles before it was finally halted. During this enemy offensive the 14th A&SH was decimated and pulled out on 7.4.18, posting the rump of its surviving men to other units and was then reduced to a cadre. The 14 A&SH cadre was then transferred to 14th Division (which had also been decimated) which, with the 14th A&SH, was sent back to England on 15.6.1918 to be rebuilt, returning to Belgium (via Boulogne) on 4.7.18. The 14th A&SH (now in 42nd Brigade of 14th Division) landed back with only 37 officers and 271 new recruit ‘other ranks’ and thus needed to reinforce quickly, gaining another 227 A&SH men already in France between 26 July and 8 August, which I surmise included John, now I’m guessing newly promoted to Lance-Sergeant, to bolster new recruits with experienced NCO’s. Its next battle would not be until 28.9.18 when John was cited for his MM.
(2) Military Medal award. As described in an earlier post to chipmunk1953 headed ‘Medal Citations’, the MM citations have not survived, believed to be stored with the service records in the same 1940 warehouse fire; the only other copies were the paper certificates handed to each recipient (the LG didn’t publish them, only the Military Cross citations for officers). I’ve downloaded John’s MM medal card from The Genealogist (they are not on Ancestry) and John’s MM schedule number is 219158 (LG 13.5.1919). This schedule refers to MM’s awarded between 29 Aug and the first week of September 1918 for acts of gallantry during the Fifth Battle of Ypres. The engagements took place in Belgium at Villers Guislain; Rouvroy-Fresnes Line; Drocourt-Queant Line; Gheluveldt; Ledegham and Zillebeke/Zonnebeke (these two towns are just 5-miles apart). I’ve sighted the war diary pages for the 14th A&SH during this period. They were out of the line the whole time, except for their part in the attack on the German front line at Zonnebeke canal sector on 28 September 1918, when they went in from the British line between St. Eloi Craters to Piccadilly Farm (trenches) at 5.30 am after a 5-minute artillery and machine gun barrage. The battalion reached all final objectives. Battalion casualties were 1 officer + 30 other ranks killed, 42 wounded (was John one I wonder?) and captured 80 German prisoners. John’s MM was definitely cited for an act of bravery on this day, because thereafter, way past October, the battalion was not in action. I read the war diary pages from July 1918 to the end of January 1919 and John is not mentioned (only officers as usual). I have downloaded John’s MM medal card, campaign medal Roll and the diary page image for the attack mentioned above and will send these to you. To do this I’ll first send you a PM (personal message) with my email address for you to contact me. Regards Lyndale (Graham) in Melbourne AU.
Lyndale
 
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