Page 5 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-II

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
No.
Rank•
Dau of L.G.
?IOtifyi!1f
Battalion .
A ward.
.. Amongst the many very gallant officers and men engaged in
this most hazardous undertaking, Captain Bromley, Serjeant Stubbs
and Corporal Grimshaw have been selected by their comrades as
having performed the most signal acts of bravery and devotion
to duty.
.. The above awards of the Victoria Cross are to be read
in
conj unction with those conferred on the following for most con–
spicuous bravery on the same occasion :-
Captain
R. R.
Willis.
No. 1293 Serjeant A. Richards.
No. 1809 Private
W.
KeneaJly."
(Extract from London Gruetu dated
15/8/17.)
[Note.-The
phrase "selected by their comrades", used in both the foregoing citations,
should be explained, especially as several conflicting accounts have been heard of the
circumstances in which the unique award of six Victoria Crosses to one unit for one action
came to be made. From statements made by officers present at the time, it appears that
Major-General A. Hunter-Weston, then commanding the 29th Division, directed the
1st Lancashire Fusiliers to submit six names for the Victoria Cross for "Lancashire Land –
ing." His General Staff Officer, 1st Grade, Colonel O. C. Wolley-Dod, D.S.O., of the
Regiment, was given the above six names by the Commanding Officer, Major
H.
O. Bishop.
The latter had consulted the officers who happened to
be
with him at the time and who
did not include either of the officers awarded the Cross. General Hunter-Weston put
forward all the names, adding that he considered that a collective act of gallantry had been
performed, though Colonel \Volley-Dod warned him that this phrase was likely to cause
difficulties in view of certain precedents from previous wars. The \Var Office ruled that,
as
"a collective act of gallantry" was involved, only four Victoria Crosses could
be
given.
and that the battalion was t o choose one officer, one N.C.O. and two privates for the
honour.
By this time, Major Bishop and all other officers present at the Landing had left the
1st Battalion and there were, indeed, very few survivors of it of any rank \\ith the battalion,
so great had been the wastage in three months. Eventually the names of Captain
R. R.
Willis, Serjeant A. Richards, Private W. Keneally and Lance-Corporal
J.
Grimshaw were
sent forward bv the battalion. The first three were at once awarded the Victoria Cr9ss,
but the War O'ffice took exception to the recommendation in favour of Grimshaw on the
ground that he was a lance-corporal and therefore a N.C.O., thereby disregarding the rule
that " lancc-{;orporal" is only an appointment and that its holder's rank is private.
Over a year later, Brigadier-General O. C. \Volley-Dod, C.B., D .S.O. , then an Inspector
of Infantry, had an opportunity of raising the matter again with the Military Secretary
to the Secretary of State for
War,
Lieutenant-General Sir F.
J.
Davies, K.C.B., K.C.M.G.,
who had commanded the VIII Corps on the Gallipoli Peninsula. In particular he men–
tioned Captain C. Bromley who had done magnificent work at all stages until he was
wounded on 28th June, 1915, and who was drowned in the torpedoing of the hospital ship
s. s .
Royal Edward
without receiving any reward for his services. General Davies promised
to do "'hat he could. A few weeks later, Victoria Crosses were awarded to Captain C.
Bromley, Serjeant F. E. Stubbs and Lance-Corporal J. Grimshaw. When General Wolley–
DCld went to thank the Military Secretary, the latter replied by thanking him "for having
brought to light a case of gross injustice."]
Hutchinson,], ... 2579 Private
2nd/5th
" For
most
conspicuous bravery. During an attack on the
enemy's position this soldier was the leading man, and, entering
their trench, shot two sentries and cleared two of the traverses.
" After our object had been gained and retirement ordered,
Private Hutchinson, on hIS own initiative, undertook the dangerous
task of covering the retirement, and he did this with such gallantry
and determination that the wounded were removed into safety.
During
all
this time this gallant soldier was exposed to fierce
fire
from machine guns and rifles at close quarters,"
(Extract from London Gruette dated
9/9/16.)
9/9/16