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      • Military Medal (MM) (Geo.V) 4787 PTE A. Estment 1/S. Afr. I.R.; BWM SJT A. Estment 1ST S.A.I.;  AVM (Bil.) MM LONDON GAZETTE 21 SEPTEMBER 1916  “At Longueval on 16 July during the attack on enemy trench Lt Craig fell severely wounded out in the open between two trenches. The attack proved successful and the men were brought back.   Privates Estment and Baker scaled the parapet and assisted Private Faulds in bringing back Lt. Craig. The return was made under heavy machine gun fire. Private Baker getting two bad wounds. The prompt act saved the officer’s life.” This was the same Delville Wood action for which William Frederick Faulds was awarded the Victoria Cross.  John Buchan, in his history of the South African Forces in France, puts these events in perspective when he writes as follows:  “All through the furious night of the 15th the troops in Delville Wood were working for dear life at entrenchments.    At 2.35 a.m. Lukin received orders from the division that at all costs the northern entrance into Longueval must be blocked, and that for this purpose his Brigade must complete the capture of the northern perimeter of the wood, and advance westwards till they joined hands with the 27th Brigade.   There was a lane called North Street, which was a continuation of the main street of Longeville from the point where the Flers Road branched off to the north-east.  Between these roads lay an orchard – the tactical importance of which will be important from the map. The plan was for the 27th Brigade to push north through the village and capture that orchard and the enclosures east of North Street, and to join hands with the South Africans on the Flers Road.   This was to be the work of the 11th Royal Scots, while two companies of the 1st South Africans (those which, as has been already explained, had formed a defensive flank at the south-west corner of the wood) were to push north from the Princes Street line.   The situation did not allow of a previous military bombardment; but it was arranged that a  “preparation” by trench mortars should precede the infantry attack. The advance was made at ten on the Sunday morning and failed completely, since the Royal Scots were held up in their area by a strongly-wired stone redoubt and the South Africans by machine-gun fire from the ominous orchard between two roads.   It was then that Private W.F. Faulds of the 1st Regiment won the first Victoria Cross which fell to the lot of the Brigade. Lieutenant Craig had attempted to reach a German trench with a bombing section, and had fallen severely wounded half-way between the lines.   He was rescued by Private Faulds, who, along with Privates Baker and Estment, crossed the parapet in broad daylight under a drenching machine-gun and rifle fire.”   Alexander Estment was born in the Cape Colony in about 1885. His attestation papers, dated 4 September 1915 indicate that he served for 3 years with Nesbit’s Horse during the Boer War.    However, there is no reference to service in German S.W.A. He served with his unit in North Africa in early 1916 and served in France from April 1916 until April 1917 and again from April 1918 until he was severely wounded in the face and eye on 18 April 1918.   He was promoted L/Cpl on 6 September 1916, Corporal 10 October 1916 and Sgt. on 18 October 1916.
      • Hi I do think it is Rittm aD August Graf von Spee but I dont see any von in the signature. He served as observer on the Macedonian front in the summer of 1916 until he was "hit" by a severe Typhus infection which nearly killed him. He was at FEA 11 nearly a Year for convalescence (erholung) but he apparently never recovered completely.   Can anyone confirm his date of promotion to Oblt aD 26.11.1914  ? as I cannot find it in the MWB   I assume that Brunnengräber is the later Jasta pilot, or ?   Gunnar
      • The heroic stand by South African troops at Delville Wood during those dark days in July 1916 are, even today, revered as South Africa’s most heroic contribution to the Great War.    It was on that square of “South African soil” where South Africans have honoured their war dead for more than a century. It was there that the first “Delville Wood Memorial” was built and opened with a solemn reverent ceremony in 1926.   Notwithstanding changing political regimes here, this is where the Memorial was rebuilt to highlight the part that South Africans have played in subduing the conflicts of the World - and that their country has a worthy place in the family of Nations.   Sadly, other equally heroic fights, not least the epic Battle at Marrières Wood in March 1918, would also severely test the mettle and resolve of the South Africans.   The words written by John Buchan in the aftermath of the Great War are worth repeating: “The six days and five nights during which the South African Brigade held the most difficult post on the British front - a corner of death on which the enemy fire was concentrated at all hours from three sides, and into which fresh German troops, vastly superior in number to the defence, made periodic incursions only to be driven back - constitute an epoch of terror and glory scarcely equalled in the campaign.   There were positions as difficult, but they were not held so long; there were cases of as protracted a defence; but the assault was not so violent and continuous.   The high value the enemy set upon it [Delville Wood] is proved by the fact that he used his best troops against it ..... The South Africans measured their strength against the flower of the German army, and did not draw back from the challenge. As a feat of human daring and fortitude the fight is worthy of eternal remembrance by South Africa and Britain, but no historian’s pen can give that memory the sharp outline and the glowing colour which it deserves.   Only the sight of the place in the midst of the battle – that corner of splinters and churned earth and tortured humanity – could reveal the full epic of Delville Wood.”  The South African Forces engaged were honoured by the award of the Victoria Cross to Private Faulds’s of the 1st South African Infantry, the citation for this prestigious award as follows: “For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. A bombing party under Lieut. Craig attempted to rush over 40 yards of ground which lay between the British and enemy trenches.    Coming under very heavy rifle- and machine-gun fire the officer and the majority of the party were killed or wounded. Unable to move, Lieut. Craig lay midway between the two lines of trench, the ground being quite open. In full daylight Private Faulds, accompanied by two other men, climbed over the parapet, ran out, picked up the officer, and carried him back, one man being severely wounded in so doing.   Two days later Private Faulds again showed most conspicuous bravery in going out alone to bring in a wounded man, and carried him nearly half a mile to a dressing station subsequently re-joining his platoon. The artillery fire was at that time so intense that stretcher bearers and other considered that any attempt to bring in the wounded man meant certain death. This risk Private Faulds faced unflinchingly, and his bravery was crowned with success.” As recorded in this citation Pte Faulds was accompanied by two other men in rescuing  Lieutenant Craig. Both these “two other men” were awarded the Military Medal for their part in this “Victoria Cross Action”.
      • Another nice little bar with a scarce device, 256 Euro 
      • Hi Megan,   Don't know why I said that, because it is the correct ribbon.   Do you maybe have a link for that picture on wawards.org?   Regards Archie
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