December 2. Faughs five miles behind enemy lines. Roll of Honour

In today’s Roll, read James McKinstry’s letter to his mother before he moved into the trenches. The 21 year old from Belfast was in the front line near Beaumont Hamel when he was fatally wounded in 1916. Read also the commendation by the commanding officer and Brigadier for the instant award of a Military Medal to Corporal Stanley Hughes for his courage and leadership behind enemy lines in Italy. James Carlisle from HMS Caroline was notified as missing within days of his daughter’s third birthday in 1942. Walter Sergant from Rostrevor was shot down in 1943. He is buried alongside other men from his Lancaster crew in Charlottenburg cemetery, Berlin.

1 Comment

  1. As well as the award to Cpl Stanley Hughes, Fus. John Toland received a gallantry award. In his case this was a Soviet award, the Medal for Distinguished Battle Service. At the time a Red Army delegation (one of whom was killed and is buried in Italy) was visiting HQ Eighth Army and presented a box of Soviet decorations and medals. Two of these were assigned to 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, an officer’s decoration and a soldier’s medal. Since Fus. Toland had distinguished himself in battle, he was awarded the soldier’s medal. His family believed this to be the Russian equivalent of the Victoria Cross when they offered his medals to the Ulster Museum about 30 years ago.
    The officer’s award was ‘written up’ by the Adjutant, Captain Brian Clark, modified by the CO, Lt Col James Dunnill DSO, and further modified as it ascended the chain of command so that, at some point, it was decided that the officer concerned really deserved the DSO and not ‘some Russian bauble’. The DSO was accordingly gazetted but sadly the awardee had been killed by then.
    Lt John Day was also recommended for the Victoria Cross but there was no supporting officer’s evidence and no award was made.

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