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Thread: 6th Battalion Black Watch WW1 award of the Croix de Guerre - the Battle of Tardenois

  1. #1
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    6th Battalion Black Watch WW1 award of the Croix de Guerre - the Battle of Tardenois

    I am new to this forum and not sure if it is the right place to ask whether anyone knows of any WWI centenary ceremonies planned for France/Belgium?
    My grandfather served as a 2nd Lieutenant in both 6th and 9th BW. He was first with 9th Bn just east of Arras, near Feuchy where the Bn repulsed the German Spring offensive “Mars” on 28th March 1918 – I have done quite a bit of research including walking the battlefield, which I would be pleased to share if anyone is interested.
    With the reorganisation in May 1918 due to manpower shortages, my grandfather was transferred to 6th Bn and in July it moved south to just SW of Reims and over a period of 8 days together with 7th Bn BW and 7th Gordons (153rd Brigade, 51st (Highland) Division) made four attacks through woods called the Bois de Courton and the Bois des Eclisse, which are sited on high ground between steeply sided valleys, and eventually down the valley side to take the objective of the village of Chambrecy (part of the battle of Tardenois in the Ardre valley.) For these operations the French Army awarded 6th Bn the Croix de Guerre, one of only four I believe awarded to British Bns throughout the war. My grandfather was wounded in the final attack on 28th July 1918, which resulted in his return to the UK. He did not recover until after cessation of hostilities when he served in the occupational force in Turkey.
    I have also researched the fighting in the woods and the taking of Chambrecy and again walked parts of the battlefield – Champagne country and again would be pleased to share what I know.
    Of the fighting in the Ardre valley, in his war history, Arthur Conan Doyle said that “Some memory of island valour should linger in that valley, for much good British blood has been shed there”.
    I know it is 4.5 years away, but it will soon be upon us and it seems to me that this “gallant” deed (in the language of the day) should be marked by a centenary memorial ceremony on or around 28th July in or near Chambrecy, perhaps at the British cemetery. Does anyone know of any plans or whether there is there any interest in such a ceremony?
    Regards,
    Chris Noble

  2. #2
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    Hello Chris
    Welcome to the BW Site. The 6th Bn then became 6/7th Bn I was in the 6/7th Bn before joining the 1st Bn I am not aware of any plans for a Memorial ceremony 28 July 1918 but would be interested if there was.
    Joe

  3. #3
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    Hello Joe
    Thanks for your reply. Not much interest yet, but early days. I am taking it up with the British Legion also.

    When you served did the battalion still wear the ribbon of the Croix de Guerre on the sleeve of the jackets?

    Regards, Chris

  4. #4
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    Hello Chris
    The 6/7 Bn Black Watch wore the ribbon of the Croix de Guerre on the left sleeve of our BD Jacket this was 1960.
    Have you tried the BW association's? in particular the Perth one ?
    Joe

  5. #5
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    Thanks Joe
    Good suggestion. I will try them.
    Chris

  6. #6
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    Hi Chris,
    I just noticed your post today and am very interested in your research and field work.

    My Great Uncle, John Dempster MM, was killed at the Bois de Courton on 24th July 1918. He was in the 7 Bn BW. His remains we're never found/identified and he is commemorated at Soissons Memorial.

    His younger brother, William, was killed at High Wood in 1916. Last year I visited the Somme and spent a fair bit of time tracing William,s last movements and just a fleeting visit to the Champaign Region to explore where John gave his all.


    I do intend returning to spend more time in and around Marfaux, probably not this year but certainly next. I am interested in any information you have on the area and the fighting that took place there during May/June/July 1918. Also any practical advice about where to stay, maps etc

    I appreciate that this is a big ask but I would be glad of any information you are prepared to share.

    Email address is terryhill53@hotmail.com

    Best regards
    Terry Hill

  7. #7
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    Thanks Terry. I have replied by email. Regards, Chris

  8. #8
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    Chris. My grandfather Lt Col Earle David Nicoll MC served with the 6th Bn and was awarded a Croix du Guerre after Chambrecy. I understand that the Perth branch of the Black Watch Association will be holding their annual dinner Croix du Guerre dinner that month in 2018 but I know of no specific memorial service planned in France.

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