My grandfather in the first world war

From my grandmother’s notes:

He didn’t get abroad until the Gallipoli expedition; by that time he was a major, and later he was to command the 6th Dublins. He was wounded at Gallipoli through the shoulder, and was sent back to hospital. Before he was pronounced fit he managed to get into a party that was being sent back to the lines and reported to the CO who later heard from the hospital that Major Whyte had deserted; the CO was able to report back that Major Whyte had rejoined the regiment.

I haven’t his military diaries here [NW: wonder where they ended up?], so I have no idea of exact dates and so on, but after Gallipoli there was the Serbian campaign, where a mixed force of French and British got as far as Lake Doiran, but then had to fall back. The Dublins had the honour of forming the rearguard. While they had been at Lake Doiran they had been on one hill with the Bulgarians across the valley on another. In the valley between there were some ruined cottage[s]. Each night a few of the Dublins would quietly work their way down to the cottages and light fires there, and each succeeding morning the Bulgarians would solemnly shell the cottages for some time – of course by then the Dublins were safe back on their hill, well out of range; no living thing was near the cottages.

When the time came to withdraw, Billy arranged it so that his men went diagonally down the hill. When the Bulgarians realised that they had gone, they raced up the hill and fired straight ahead down it; as the Dublins had gone off to the side there were no casualties among them.

The Serbian government sent a number of decorations, the White Eagle, to be distributed among the British and French; three British officers were named specially to receive them, and Billy was one of those three. It is a most attractive decoration.

From Serbia they went to Salonika and later to Palestine. The at last Billy got some home leave and was actually in France when the war ended.

One thought on “My grandfather in the first world war

Comments are closed.