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Awards and Decorations of Honour

Victoria Cross

681886 Sgt. Cyril Edward Gourley, VC, MM

D/276 Brigade

On 30 November 1917 at Little Priel Farm, east of Épehy, France, during the Battle of Cambrai, Gourley was in command of a section of howitzers.  The citation for his Victoria Cross reads:

For most conspicuous bravery when in command of a section of howitzers. Though the enemy advanced in force getting within 400 yards in front, between 300 and 400 yards to one flank and with snipers in the rear, Sjt. Gourley managed to keep one gun in action practically throughout the day. Though frequently driven off he always returned, carrying ammunition, laying and firing the gun himself, taking first one and then another of the detachment to assist him. When the enemy advanced he pulled his gun out of the pit, and engaged a machine gun at 500 yards, knocking it out with a direct hit. All day he held the enemy in check, firing with open sights at enemy parties in full view at 300 to 800 yards, and thereby saved his guns, which were withdrawn at nightfall. He had previously been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry. LONDON GAZETTE, 13 FEBRUARY 1918

For further information about Sgt. Gourley, see here.

For further information about the action at Little Priel Farm, see here.

In total, 12 officers and men in D/276 received gallantry awards for their part in the action at Little Priel Farm: one VC, one MC, two DCMs and eight MMs.  The men are identified with * in the lists below. 

Cyril Edward Gourley VC.jpg

Military Cross

* Lieutenant William Mitchell Biggart, R.F.A.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When in charge of a forward section of guns, the enemy being observed not more than 600 yards away, he collected a party of five men, and despite heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, led them out from under cover to man the guns. Himself forming one of the gun detachments, he continued to fire at point-blank range upon the advancing enemy until two hostile machine guns, opening fire at close range from the flank, rendered the position of the section untenable. Later, he supervised the withdrawal of the section, which was successfully accomplished. He conducted the operations throughout with the greatest coolness and capability, and by keeping his guns in action up to the last moment inflicted the greatest loss on the enemy.  LONDON GAZETTE, 18 JULY 1918.

Distinguished Conduct Medal

276 Brigade

* 681770 L/Bdr Thomas Edge, R.F.A.  (Liverpool).  D/276

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was one of the detachment of a forward section of the battery during an enemy attack, and kept his gun in action with great effect on the advancing enemy when they were within 600 yards of his position, though he was subjected to heavy fire. The detachment finally came under intense machine-gun fire at close range from a flank which made the position untenable, but lie exposed himself fearlessly to fire several more rounds, and then assisted in getting the guns away to the battery position. He showed magnificent courage and determination.  LONDON GAZETTE, 28 MARCH 1918.

680437 A/Bdr. Francis Arches Hirst, R.F.A. (Blackpool).  B/276.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of a signalling party. During our infantry advance and subsequent retirement, he was entirely instrumental in laying and maintaining, under heavy and continuous barrage, a telephone line, and in getting through information of the most vital nature to headquarters. It was due to his gallantry and absolute disregard of his personal safety that communication was kept up throughout the day.  EDINBURGH GAZETTE, 28 JANUARY 1918.

680426 Sgt. James A Parkinson, R.F.A. (Walton-le-Dale). A/276. 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When heavy enemy barrage had damaged an anti-Tank gun which he was in command of, he and his detachment got the gun into action again, and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy, approaching within 200 yards. When the gun finally jammed he manned the trenches with his detachment with rifles. He displayed great courage and determination in keeping his gun, damaged as it was. firing at point-blank range under close rifle and machine-gun fire.  LONDON GAZETTE, 3 OCTOBER 1918

He was also awarded the French Médaille Militaire.

* 681795 Sgt. Edward James Thornley, R.F.A. (Liverpool.) D/276.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. The enemy attacked in great force, and advanced to within 400 yards of the battery position. He kept his section together, and continued firing his guns under intense fire. Though continually driven back from the guns by intense shell and machinegun fire, he returned each time and got his guns into action again. He set a splendid example of devotion to duty and courage at a critical period.  LONDON GAZETTE, 28 MARCH 1918

680038 Bdr William Woods, R.F.A.  (Preston.)  A/276

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when one of an antitank gun detachment. Heavy enemy barrage having damaged the gun, he and the detachment got the gun working again and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. After firing at point-blank range at the enemy under heavy machine-gun fire, the gun finally jammed. He and the detachment then manned the trenches with their rifles. He did very fine service.  LONDON GAZETTE, 3 OCTOBER 1918.

286 Brigade

681481 Dvr William Davies, R.F.A. (Liverpool.)  D/286

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During two months' operations he succeeded in getting rations through daily to the gun positions, often under heavy shell fire, and on one occasion volunteered to take rations up, although two previous attempts had failed.  LONDON GAZETTE, 21 OCTOBER, 1918

680625 BSM William Ewan, R.F.A. (Preston.) A/286

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty under very heavy shell fire. He assisted in handling two of his guns to another position, and on the following night, after removing two more guns, he remained on the position till the last, superintending the loading and removal of the ammunition under an intense bombardment. He set a splendid example of fearlessness and devotion to duty.  LONDON GAZETTE, 17 SEPTEMBER, 1917

680862 Gnr Joseph Jackson, R.F.A.  (Bamber Bridge.) C/286

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, especially during two months' operations. On one occasion, although wounded and buried, as well as suffering from the effects of gas, he refused to leave his gun. His cheerfulness and coolness under fire set an excellent example.  LONDON GAZETTE, 21 OCTOBER, 1918

680994 Sgt. Thomas Jackson, R.F.A. (Bamber Bridge.) C/286

On 9th April, 1918, near Fleurbaix, when the officer in command of his detached section had been wounded, he took command of the situation. By his splendid courage and determination under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, he kept his guns in action until the enemy were within 300 yards of the position and on three sides of it. He then disabled the guns, saving dial sights and breech mechanisms, and successfully withdrew his wounded. He was severely wounded in the retirement.  LONDON GAZETTE, 3 SEPTEMBER, 1919

681658 Gnr Alfred William Rogers, R.F.A.  (Seacombe). A/286

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When carrying an important dispatch this gunner had to pass through a heavy enemy barrage. He was severely wounded in the head, chest, both legs and one arm, his horse being killed under him. Unable to walk, he crawled with indomitable courage the remainder of the distance, some 400 yards, still under heavy shell fire. He collapsed on reaching his destination, and had to be carried in to the officer to whom the message was to be delivered.  LONDON GAZETTE, 3 SEPTEMBER, 1918

681725 Cpl. James Young, R.F.A. (Liverpool). C/286 

He has been in charge of battery signals during the past two years. At Boisleux-au-Mont on 20th-21st August, 1918, under very heavy shell fire, he succeeded in laying out lines for practically all the brigade. During the Cambrai operations his work was of the highest standard, and at all times he has performed his duty regardless of personal danger.  LONDON GAZETTE, 11 MARCH, 1920

Military Medal

276 Brigade

681911 Sgt Robert Ashurst, MM

680503 Dvr James Askew, MM

* 681791 Gnr Frederick Backhouse, MM

681858 Gnr Leslie Gordon Barnes, MM

680073 Bdr William Beck, MM

680345 Sgt Herbert Cannon, MM

*199319 Gnr Reginald Charles Evans, MM

* 681886 Sgt. Cyril Edward Gourley, VC, MM

* 114983 Gnr Clough Hartley, MM

680520 Sgt Henry Hartley, MM

680270 Sgt Henry Holmes, MM

680415 Gnr/Sig William Holroyd, MM

* 681788 Sgt Frank Sutton Howard, MM

680228 Cpl Robert Jackson, MM

* 167717 Gnr Thomas Arthur Jevons, MM

681764 Bdr James Lumsden Jones, MM

680082 Bdr Ernest Kay, MM, 9 March 1917

680313 Gnr/Sig John Lamb, MM

680346 Sgt Arthur Monroe, MM

680001 Sgt George Nixon, MM

* 72339 Gnr Charles Oliver, MM

* 656259  Gnr Alfred Samuel George Oram, MM

* 681787 Sgt Joseph Pinnington, MM

682000 A/Bdr John Randall, MM

680239 Dvr Henry Stamp, MM

680273 Sgt William D Thompson, MM

680383 Dvr Edward Watson, MM

680159 Sgt Joseph Whelan, MM

680513 Sgt Frank Holt Whitehead, MM, 20 May 1918

680433 A/Cpl George Henry Wigmore, MM

680472 Sgt Frank Woodhouse, MM

Mentioned in Despatches

276 Brigade

680002 BSM Herbert Harmer

680007 BQMS Thomas Kershaw

680561 Gnr John Henry Needham (later commissioned A/Capt)

680443 A/Bdr William Henry Wilkinson (later commissioned 2nd Lt)

286 Brigade

680909 Gnr/Sig Joseph Banks, MM

680565 Gnr John Barnes, MM

680181 Sgt Frederick C Bird, MM + bar

680888 Bdr/Sig John Blanchflower, MM

680441 Dvr James Bleasdale, MM

680034 Sgt Frank Bramley, MM

681286 Gnr Thomas Cowling, MM

680915 Dvr Frederick Duerden, MM

681733 Frederick Randall Duke, MM

681746 Sgt Charles Gibson, MM

681340 Gnr Arthur Grindrod, MM

681727 Cpl Harold Hadfield, MM

680215 Sgt William Hall, MM

680735 Cpl/Whl Philip Hankinson MM, 2 March 1919

681010 Gnr Joseph Hanna MM, 25 April 1919

680936 Dvr Isaac Hendrickson, MM

681839 Sgt William C Higginson, MM

681410 Sgt Harry Hughes, MM

681745 A/QMS William Valentine Jones, MM

681499 Dvr John Landy, MM

681500 Dvr Isaac Langton, MM

681381 Dvr John Lawrence, MM

681034 Gnr Morris Lund, MM

681527 Bdr Charles Lund, MM

680947 Gnr Thomas Henry Marsland, MM

681458 A/Bdr Henry Moncrief McKim, MM

680070 Sgt Walter Nuttall, MM

681705 Gnr James H Nuttall, MM

680991 Sgt Francis Schultz MM, 13 April 1918

681769 Sgt Ralph John Smith, MM

680548 Sgt John Southworth, MM

680848 Sgt Thomas Emmanuel Southworth, MM

680839 L/Bdr George Spencer, MM

680595 Gnr Herbert Stott, MM

681058 L/Bdr Richard Stretch, MM

680838 Dvr James Sumner, MM + bar

681418 Cpl William Arnold Wakefield, MM

680984 Bdr/Sig Harry Watson, MM

681408 Sgt Henry Edmund Williams, MM

Meritorious Service Medal

276 Brigade

681737 BSM Thomas F James Flynn, MSM

680042 Bdr Francis Foley, MSM

680046 Whr/Sgt Robert Singleton, MSM

680042 BSM Robert H Wadeson, MSM

680219 Cpl Thomas Wearing, MSM

286 Brigade

680913 Dvr Colin Crook, MSM

681218 A/Sgt John Totty, MSM

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