Header Copy

Covering the villages of Wilsden and Harecroft

WILSDEN

Private Percy Firth, of the West Riding Regiment, of Wilsden, has been awarded the Military Medal

 

  

- Keighley News, 26th October 1918


24th October – On the Piave river in North-Eastern Italy, British forces stormed the Austrian positions on the island of Papadopoli. The two British divisions were part of a massed Italian led offensive, in which fifty-one Italian divisions, along with British, French, Czechoslovak and American formations attempted to break through to the Austrian-held Italian city of Vittorio (now Vittorio Veneto). The British soldiers were veterans of the Western Front, and this gave them a particular perspective on the battle. E.C. Crosse, a chaplain attached to the 7th Division, wrote that “On this occasion, the novelty of the enterprise helped considerably to relieve the tension. There was something hideous and inhuman about a trench attack in France. The mud, the duckboards, the dead horses one passed on the way up, the sickening bark and roar of the guns, all combined to produce a sort of uncanny effect which one could only tolerate by suppressing all brooding on the situation. On this occasion, however, the situation was quite different. For months the firebrands in the battalion had been spoiling for a fight. The guns were all silent, the avenues of trees were all decked in the glories of their autumn foliage. Above all, the element of adventure which was involved in the passage of the river, and the fact that we were fighting against an enemy whom we had rather come to despise, combined to free men from the load of depression which even the stoutest heart had felt a year ago on Passchendaele Ridge. The men were out to finish the war, to give the Austrians a knock-out blow for all the crimes they had committed since the fateful murder [of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand] at Sarajevo, and everyone felt that, though the expedition was a gamble, the stakes were well worth the risk”. Papadopoli Island was captured, but heavy rain and flooding halted the advance.

 

Charlie Minn

Pte.  Minn,  Charles    33901     1st/7th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

 

 

Charlie was born in Bradford in October 1899, the son of Clara and Harry Minn, a mason’s labourer. He had an older brother Fred, and two sisters – Milly who was older and Maud who was younger. They moved to Wilsden and lived at 2, Spring Hill.

 Charlie enlisted into the Dukes at Halifax on the day after his 18th birthday. He had been employed at Ling Bob Mill by Worth & Ox Spinners as a Card Jobber. He was hospitalised with burns to his face and right hand, in July 1918, when his Sergeant set fire to some small pieces of cordite which he thought ‘dangerous to be lying about’ and accidentally dropped them off the window ledge into the dug-out where Charlie was sleeping. After a month he re-joined his unit, to become part of the great push or ‘Advance to Victory’ of Autumn 1918 when the German Army was gradually pushed back by continual attacks along most of the Western Front.

 Charlie received a severe gunshot wound to the head, involving his chin, eye and skull, on

 12 October 1918 and was admitted to the 5 General Hospital, Rouen where he died 15 days later on 27 October 1918, his 19th birthday.

 He is buried in the St Sever Cemetery extension, Rouen   Grave No. S. III. C. 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                         

 

 

 

15th October – Allied forces recaptured the entire Belgian coast, including the major ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge.
But General Ludendorff, the German High Commander, had seemingly lost touch with the reality of the war. He declared
that the German army could and should fight on, as an Allied breakthrough “was unlikely”, and in another month, winter
would bring operations to a halt. A skilful German withdrawal to a new fortified line, from Antwerp along the river Meuse
would give the German army time to regroup, rearm, and plan for a new offensive in spring 1919. However, a more realistic
note was struck a day later by Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, who wrote from the front lines of the desperate condition of his
troops, who were short of artillery support, fuel, ammunition, horses and officers. Prince Rupprecht concluded that “we must
obtain peace before the enemy breaks into Germany”.

18th October – Admiral Scheer, in command of the German Navy, ordered all submarines back to their bases –
a tacit acknowledgement that unrestricted submarine warfare had failed. The final torpedo fired by a German
submarine was on the 21st August, when the Saint Barcham, a small British merchant ship, was sunk in the Irish Sea,
with the loss of eight crewmen.

Image:WO1Wiki


This Week in 1918