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peter monahan

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Posts posted by peter monahan

  1. I agree that the 'sides' are British and Boer, but I don't believe it's a roundup.  My guess is that the Boer have deliberately stampeded a herd of trek oxen attached to the British force in an effort to overrun the camp / cause confusion / get some fresh meat.  A bit too violent for a roundup, methinks. 

    I can't see it very clearly but it looks to me as if  one Brit is firing his revolver at a Boer horseman and there are a LOT of rifles on display.  I also think the two white blockhouses in the background are interesting.  This may very well illustrate a real incident from late in the Boer War, when the British were using chains of blockhouses to cut SA up into areas which they could then control and when the Boer were in dire straits militarily and in some cases virtually starving.  Fascinating!

  2. Again, dredging deep in an aging memory, but I believe one of the bigger maritime museums - perhaps the National MAritime Museum? - has a collection of images of ships and shipping.  May be worth an email to their 'Research and Collections' address: https://www.rmg.co.uk/research-collections

    For the Uboot, perhaps post something in the modern German section of this group.  We have a number of members in Germany who are both knowledgeable and helpful.


  3. There were only 5 Berkshire Yeomanry POW in Gallipoli so its quite special and there are 4 pages of Red Cross Papers - which is a bonus


    Private Andrew Osmond Walter (1891-1966)

    Andrew Osmond Walter was known as Osmond (Not Oswald) and was the youngest son of his parents Thomas Walter and mother Hanor Walter of Moon Lane, Hungerford, Berkshire who were farmer landowners. Osmond attended School at?

    Osmond was one of 13 children born in Hungerford, of which 5 were boys. Three of the brothers serve in WW1, while the other two were too old to enlist. Osmond's four older brothers were

    ·       Shadrack Walter (1870-1938) too old to serve in WW1

    ·       Eli Charles Walter (1874-1958) too old to serve in WW1

    ·       Leonard Thomas Walter (1885-1972) was known as “Tommy” and joined up at the age of 30 on 22nd June 1915 three weeks after his marriage to Edith Amy Purton. He was a platelayer on the Great Western Railway GWR and went to France to build the railways there between 1915 and 1919. He joined the Royal Engineers (RE) Railway Construction companies and spent the War making railways to lead from the supply heads to the trenches.

    ·       Henry Walter (1877-1915) was a musician in the Royal Berkshire Regiment and was killed in France near Fleurbaix


    1806 No3 (Hungerford) Tp of  C (Newbury) Squadron of the Berkshire Yeomanry.

    Osmond enlisted in the Berkshire Yeomanry, (army number 1806) in the spring of 1913, when he was 21 years old. He is seen in photo, attended camp in June 1914 (and almost certainly the previous year in 1913).

    Declaration of war

    Prior to the outbreak of war being declared, each Yeomanry regiment had a ‘Mobilisation plan  which they had previously prepared and involved one of their four Squadrons being disbanded to bring the three remaining Squadrons up to its wartime establishment. At the time the British army was a 100% volunteer establishment so only those who volunteered for overseas service and were declared medically ‘A1’ fit to fight, were assigned into 1/1st Berkshire Yeomanry, while the remainder were to form the newly established 2/1st (Reserve) Berks Yeomanry Regt. In the Berkshire Yeomanry Regiment it was ‘C’ Squadron, which was disbanded and of those Hungerford men who volunteered from of No.3 Troop, of C Squadron, they were mostly placed  into B Squadron (Reading) for the war.

    The regiment mobilised on 4th August 1914 and every man from the regiment reported to their local drill halls within the first 24 hours. From these drill halls they were issued equipment and formed as Squadrons, then rode by horse to Reading, where each squadron formed with the Regiment. The Regiment then proceeded by train to Churn on the North Berkshire downs, where they joined their Brigade.

    Each Squadron moved towards Reading Railway Station, a route which was well known to members of the Regiment, as Churn had been a regular location for previous annual camps. At Reading they had a good send-off from family and friends as well as the local residents when they departed. The Mayor Mr Sutton had two sons in the Berkshire Yeomanry Regiment.

    From Reading they moved by train to Churn, which was on the north Berkshire downs. The Berkshire Yeomanry spent the autumn of 1914 exercising on the Downs, north of Blewbury and Didcot on Churn land.


    At Churn they joined the rest of their Brigade and practiced manoeuvres with the 2ND South Midlands Mounted Brigade. While there they were inspected by King George V, who commented very favourably on the progress they had made in such a short time. There were strong historical links between this Brigade and the King, due to their geographic location to Windsor. A number of the officers were also well known to the king as they were land owners and neighbours to the King land. These officers had hunted with hounds together with The King, so he regarded the Berks and Bucks Yeomanry favourably. There are a number of quotes to this effect. In April 1915 the King telegraphed the Brigade and apologised for not being able to see them off, when they left to go overseas and said “Im sure you will do your regiments proud”. Soon after their first enemy contact in Gallipoli he visited the picture of ‘A’ Squadron of Berkshire Yeomanry, presented to Windsor Guild Hall, where it was pointed out to him that several of these Windsor men, who had recently been killed, had served in the Royal Household, and were known to him.


    In October 1914 the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade was assigned to duties in Norfolk to protect the South coast from a feared invasion from Germany. The German navy had shelled some coastal towns and there had been several Zeppelin airship raids which made this a likely site for invasion from Belgium. The Yeomanry were frustrated from not being sent overseas, because most everyone believed the war would be over by Christmas 2014.


    They were sent to Egypt and left Avonmouth Docks on 12th April onboard HMT Menominee, which docked at Alexandria on 21st April 1915. This is confirmed by his Medal Index Card

    In Cairo they settled into Barrack duties with much grooming of horses, guards and inspections. Again the men became restless for the opportunity of action. This was soon to be given them as the decision was taken to deploy the Yeomanry to Gallipoli. Roughly 110 men remained behind in Egypt to mind the horses. Although the yeomanry were a mounted regiment, the decision was taken that they would fight on foot as infantry and on 14th August 1915, 314 men and 9 officers sailed from Alexandria aboard the SS Lake Michigan to Mudros, which was a Greek island harbour, from here they transhipped to low birth coal schooners.


    17th August 1915 at Mudros, transhipping to shallow boats for landing at Suvla - SS Sarni


    The regiment were landed at Sulva Bay on the Gallipoli peninsula on 18th August, when they received their “baptism of fire”, as they were shelled during their landing, but fortunately did not have any casualties. They initially dug in near the shore and moved the next day to an improved position to dig in again. On their third day ashore they were ordered into action and fought in one of the bloodiest of battles in the Dardanelles.

    The approach required the Yeomanry to cross an open flat dried up salt lake in daylight and in full view of the overlooking enemy artillery.

    They were shelled for nearly two miles, under the watchful eye of their commander who later reported “they marched as if soldiers on parade, not a man hung back and when a gap appeared in their line, men moved forwards to close the gaps. When they reached the shelter of Chocolate Hill (hill 60) which was held by the regular British troops, who cheered them in. They were only there for 15 minutes when the decision was made for them to go into action.


    The battle for Hill 70 (known as Scimitar Hill due to the shape of the feature, which later became known as “Burnt Hill”, as the naval shelling set the scrub on the hill on fire prior to the famous attack) is well documented. The Brigade commander was Brigadier Lord Longford and the Berkshire Yeomanry were given the honour as the lead regiment in this attack. The regiment were split into two ‘com[panies’ with A Squadron on the left and B Squadron on the left (D Squadron were split between these two). The decision was made to move their approach more left than the previous attacks, which afforded them a small amount of cover 600 yards from their objective. The advance was murderous and described as “like driving the devil out of Hell itself!” as many of the men were cut down before they reached the cover, 600 yards short. This attack was being watched by allied troops from the adjacent hill and was reported “they rose as one” and charged in for the final assault. The first Turkish trench line had been abandoned and the second line was taken at the point of the bayonet. Major Gouch, who commanded the Berkshire Yeomanry on the day was the first man in the enemy second trench closely followed by his men, when bitter hand to hand fighting was all around. Major Gooch was wounded in the head.


    By this time the Bucks Hussars Regiment had caught up with the Berkshire Yeomanry and they managed to secure the front two trench lines, some Turkish managed to escape over the hill towards their reserve trenches. The Turkish reserve trenches were well defended, as their numbers were bolstered by those who had escaped from the captured forward trench positions. The Turkish held onto their remining reserve trenches with great tenacity, as from here they had no remaining safe place left to them, apart from leaving the hill across open ground. It’s reported that a small force of Yeomanry followed the retreating Turkish, over the top of the hill and down the other side towards the reserve trenches. However these Yeomanry were too few in numbers to successfully assault the Turkish reserve Trenches and it was reported that none of these Yeomanry were to return. Most were killed, overpowered by sheer numbers or cut off from the main part of their regiment, and were left behind when the regiment withdrew.


    By the night of 21st and 22nd August and the remaining yeomanry were too few in numbers to secure their position and it was realised that come daylight, they would be in full view of the Turkish artillery, who still occupied the overlooking hills. A runner was sent back to the British at Chocolate Hill to report their predicament and await orders. The other attacks on that day had failed so the order was given to the Yeomanry to withdraw from their captured positions. The surviving yeomanry were reported to withdraw in good order, taking with them as many wounded as they could carry. There were 325 strong going into action and of those who went, only 4 officers and 150 men returned.

    There were five men from the Berks Yeomanry regiment who were made Prisoners Of War (PoW’s):

    1.     1636       70149    Sergt William James Babister      PoW      B Sqn (Reading), 1/1st BY 4th Troop

    2.     2110       70206    Trooper Archibald W Calder        PoW      D Sqn (Wantage), 1/1st BY

    3.     1752       70288     Trooper Percy Frank New           PoW Wounded D Sqn (Wantage), 1/1st BY. also a Hungerford man and enlisted a few months before Osmond Walter.

    4.     1806       70296    Trooper Osmond Andrew Walters PoW   B Sqn (Reading), 1/1st BY

    5.     1083                       Trooper William Charles Collins died while in captivity POW A Sqn (Windsor), 1/1st BY 4th Troop and had been wounded during the left flank approach.


    Sgt WJ Babister, Tpr O. Walter and Tpr Percy New, were part of the right flank approach during the assault, Reading men with Hungerford & Wantage men were on same approach during the attack on Hill 70. Being at the front of the attack and having made it past the second Turkish trench lines, with full hearts and in the heat of battle, a group of men continued their attack over the top of the hill and down the reverse side, to attack the reserve trenches at the rear of the hill.  It’s likely they were cut off, left behind and then captured.


    Note: Sgt Babister was Walter’s Troop Sejant, and after the war Babister was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for his services whilst in captivity. This gallantry award was well deserved as during his time in captivity Sgt Babister was reported to be totally selfless and a true gentleman, who carried a man during the long march to captivity, befriended the enemy and worked to improve conditions for his men, who had appointed him their leader.

    This link below mentions Babister and the Berkshire Yeomanry. http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/_transcript/2012/D16835/a3901.htm


    In 1917 he Osmond Walter re-numbered to 70296.

    Osmond was held prisoner in Turkey for the remainder of the war. There are few details recording his captivity apart from a newspaper article in April 1918 asking for provisions, which were sent out by the Berkshire yeomanry Comfort’s Fund. It is documented that the prisoners were held in people’s homes in Turkey. Osmond survived and was released in 1918 and returned to Britain by 10th January 1919.

    He married Daisy Litten and had 5 children one of whom Andrew Osmond died in infancy.

    He worked as a farm foreman.


    Osmond Walter died of a heart attack in Aylesbury on 14th June 1966 aged 74 years old




    Scimitar Hill.JPG

  4. Many many years ago I did a very little research on U-boots, as my late father-in-law was torpedoed by one off Dover in the first weeks of the war.  At that time, the Toronto Public Library [Canada] reference section had a series of records which included the log books and eventual fate of many/all German uboots. 

    I have no recollection 3 decades later how they were catalogued but I recall being impressed that the info. was available and in English [I think].  What I found included map references for the sinkings done by the Uboot I was investigating and a summary of her career.

    I wonder if a large library in the UK might have a similar source?  I hope this is some small help.


  5. A bit of info on all the 'bling':

    On the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Horwood was recalled to the Army on 5 August and appointed a Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General at the War Office, with the temporary rank of major.[5] In 1915, he went to France as Provost Marshalof the General Headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force. He remained in this post until the end of the war, being awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) on 4 June 1917 and being appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) on 1 January 1919. He was also mentioned in despatches seven times and was awarded the Croix de guerre by both France and Belgium. He was also an Officer of the French Légion d'honneur, an Officer of the Order of Léopold and the Order of the Crownof Belgium, a Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog of Denmark, a 2nd Class Member of the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan, a Grand Cordon of the Order of the Crown of Romania, a member of the Order of the Crown of Italy and of the Order of the Star of Ethiopia. Horwood ended the war as a substantive captain, brevet lieutenant-colonel and temporary brigadier-general.

  6. Welcome to the GMIC, Brigade.  I trust that, in keeping with our styling ourselves 'gentlemen;, no one will treat you harshly!

    I can easily understand the attraction of the orders and the real life limits imposed on our hobbies/obsessions, as I was in an earlier life a collector of campaign medals, most of which are no well out of my budget range.  That said, I'm afraid I don't personally have any helpsful tips on sources, but I'm sure some of our UK members will be able to help.

    Again, welcome.  Please feel free to share examples from your collection and other queries.  :)


  7. Annoying but not that odd, actually.  From their position as the 'glamour boys' of the IA, the cavalry/horsed units fell into eclipse in the 1930s.  They were at the end of the supply queue for the new armoured vehicles and some actually trained right up till 1939-40 with lorries which they pretended were scout cars or tanks.  The Indian produced armoured car - forgotten the name - was issued to the regiments sent to the Middle east and North Africa and, late in the war some regiments in the Far East got Stuart light tanks.  However, because the records in English for the IA in WWII are not extensive, and because the focus tends to be on the 'jawans' of the infantry regiments, detailed info. is scarce fro armoured IA units.  

    Hodson's Horse, as part of the 252nd / 2nd Armoured Brigade were in Syria/Lebanon early in the war and briefly joined the 10 Indian Division when it went to Cyprus [mid-1942] to train for the Italian invasion, but were sent back to Syria again, replaced by units serving as recconnaisance regiments to infantry brigades.  That is, no Indian armoured brigade saw service in Europe.  The 1st [Skinners' Horse] were the divisional recce regiment for the 10th in Italy, for example, replacing the 6th DCO Lancers.

    Sorry I haven't more detail. :)


  8. A little bit, at least.  What did you need/want to know?  They served in the Middle East in both world wars and, I think, in North Africa in War 2 as part of the 252nd Indian Armoured Brigade.  I'd have to check but I think they were using armoured cars, at least initially and may have acquired Stuart light tanks by '45.

  9. Sadly, the records / rolls for the IA are not easily available outside the subcontinent and even there are apparently disorganized and in some cases in bad shape - paper records suffering from 80 years of humidity, termites and benign neglect.  :(

    I have the last remnants of a small collection of World War One  to Indians,. mostly cavalrymen.  A friends has a number of WWII gongs, mostly to Dogras and Rajpur regiments, some of whom saw service as late as '46 in the old Dutch empire.  If you decide to get rid of this one, drop me a line, please.


  10. The 6th had 13 battalions during WWII.  The 4th Battalion was there for sure - see excerpt at bottom and the 6th earned two VCs in Africa, one in '41 in Eritrea and one in '43 in Tunisia.

    East African campaign awards


    ·        Subadar Richhpal Ram6th Rajputana Rifles (posthumous award)

    On 7 February 1941, at Keren, Eritrea, Richhpal Ram led a successful attack on the enemy and subsequently repelled six counter-attacks and then, without a shot left, brought the few survivors of his company back. Five days later, when leading another attack, his right foot was blown off, but he continued to encourage his men until he died.

    Tunisian campaign awards

    ·         Company Havildar Major Chhelu Ram6th Rajputana Rifles (posthumous award)

    On the night of 19–20 April 1943, at Djebel Garci, Tunisia, despite being wounded took command of the company, leading them in hand-to-hand fighting. Wounded again, he continued rallying his men until he died.



  11. Nice!  I went to school with a fellow [in Canada] who'd father survived the war partly because he was in a hospital in Germany after wrapping himself, his motorbike and the Wehrmacht officer he was chauffeuring around a stone wall somewhere on the Eastern Front in early 1945.  Jerry said his Papa always said the accident was the best thing to happen to him in his brief military career! 

  12. I have seen medals, over the years, with various holes and slots carved in them.  Decades ago I handled a clutch of Victorian campaign medals which had been mounted on silver legs and had slots in the top edges, all suspenders gone, for use as place card holders.  What a desecration!

    This may be something similar - modified by someone to create a piece of jewellery or a 'knickknack'/ table ornament/ etc. :(


  13. On 20/08/2018 at 06:50, BalkanCollector said:

    First time seeing Nigerian awards. I see they are greatly influenced by the UK.

    Yes, part of the relics of colonialism, though when I was there in the early '80s mosty of the Army officers I met had trained in the US - many at Ft Knox.  I suspect, thought I've never checked, that early post-independence medals and awards were designed and struck in the UK and certainly the rank structure and so on mimc the British, as do most Commonwealth forces.  

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