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Major General Dunsterville lecture at Birmingham


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#1 kevan darby

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 06:04 PM

Tribute to the Midland Troops who fought at Baku 1918 by Major General Dunsterville

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#2 centurion

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 07:01 PM

I wonder if Beetle (Kipling) was there to hear his old schoolmate Stalky

#3 Mark Simner

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 09:25 PM

There is an error in this article - it was the 7th and not the 9th North Staffords that formed part of Dunsterforce. I also believe (but I might be wrong) it was the 7th Worcesters and 7th Warwicks not the 9th as also stated.

I have one of only two DCMs awarded to soldiers in the 7th North Staffords for the Battle of Baku (Battle of the Dirty Volcano) - the citation is highlights the brutal fighting they experienced.

Mark

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14010 Corporal Thomas Parkes DCM, 7th (Service) Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment

Thomas Parkes was from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. It is currently unknown when he was born or when he enlisted into the Army but it is likely to have been when the 7th Battalion (a New Armies formation) was first formed in August 1914 as part of K1. The Battalion was attached to the 39th Brigade of the 13th (Western) Division.

He first served in the Gallipoli campaign landing in Cape Helles sometime between the 6th and 16th July 1915 taking part in the Battles of Dari Bair, Russell’s Top and Hill 60 before being sent to Sulva Bay. The Battalion was evacuated from Suvla on the 19th/20th December and moved back to Helles where it was again attacked by the Turks on the 7th January 1916. On the 8th/9th January the Battalion was finally evacuated with the rest of the Division but was to be posted to Port Said where it was posted to defend the Suez Canal on the 31st January.

Following the Gallipoli campaign the 7th Battalion was to serve in Mesopotamia forming part of the forces being assembled to relieve the besieged garrison Kut-al-Amara. After the failure to relieve the Kut garrison the 13th Division took part in the Battle of Kut-al-Amara (December 1916 to February 1917), the capture of the Hai Salient (25th January to 5th February 1917), the capture of Dahra Bend (9th to 16th February 1917) and the passage of the Diyala (7th to 10th March 1917). Following this the Battalion took part in operations to consolidate the positions around Baghdad which had fallen to the British on the 11 March and the Second and Third Actions of Jabal Hamrin (18th to 20th October and 3rd to 6th December respectively).

On the 1st July 1918 the 39th Brigade was detached from the 13th Division and sent to Baku (as part of the North Persia Force) arriving at the Dunsterforce HQ on the 24th August. It was here at the Battle of Baku (also known as the Battle of the Dirty Volcano) on the 26th August that Corporal Parkes was to win his DCM. The following explains what happened:

Citation (LG 25-02-20)
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Stafford Hill, nr Baku, on the 26th August1918. During the advance to capture a hill he led his men with great coolness and ability under heavy fire, thereby contributing largely to the success of the operations. Later, when his Officer had been killed, he took command and held out until only four of his man were left.”


Only two DCMs were awarded for this action (the other going to Private A. Kelly) and the Battle is extensively documented in the 7th Battalion History in the chapter “The Battle of the Dirty Volcano. In this history the comments of the Turkish Commander-in-Chief, which were passed to the Brigade-Major of the 39th brigade, are recorded – these comments relate directly to Corporal Parkes:

"The British troops holding the Mud Volcano against our attack on August 26th last put up a magnificent resistance. They fought until there were only five severely wounded left alive. One of these was an Officer, and he died shortly afterwards. The British troops continued to fight after the position had fallen, and when overpowered and disarmed, fought with their fists against armed men. I attacked with one Battalion of 500 men and, owing to the stubborn resistance encountered, my casualties were very severe and I had to bring up more guns. Your men put up a very fine fight."

Sometime after the award of his DCM Corporal Parkes was made an Acting Warrant Officer Second Class – his DCM being named to Corporal while his BWM & VM named A.WO.CL.2.

Medals
Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1914-15 Star, War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal.

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#4 Staffsyeoman

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 08:22 AM

This is an off-the-cuff response, but pretty sure it was 9th Royal Warwicks, as they served exclusively in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia et. seq; the only battalion not to serve on the Western Front. Yup, main site confirms:

"39th Brigade

1 July 1918 : Brigade received orders to be detached from Division and to be attached to the North Persia Force. It left the Division between 10 July and 19 August 1918. Brigade HQ arrived in Baku at Dunsterforce HQ on 24 August 1918.

9th (Service) Bn , the Royal Warwicks (joined August 1914)
7th (Service) Bn, the Gloucesters (joined August 1914)
9th (Service) Bn, the Worcesters (joined August 1914)
7th (Service) Bn, the North Staffords (joined August 1914)
39th Machine Gun Company MGC (joined 26 October 1916)
39th Supply & Transport Column ASC (formed January 1917)...."

Come to think of it (I'm getting old and fuzzy you know) I have a postcard of a young officer who I recall was 9th Battalion and KIA with Dunsterforce.

Superb citation, lovely group.



#5 Mark Simner

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 09:46 PM

Cheers Phil, glad you like the DCM group - its a cracker.

I thought I might be wrong on the Warwicks but it is the 7th North Staffords and not the 9th - that I am sure of.

I'd love to know where the 'other' North Staffords DCM is for the Battle of Baku. Anyone any ideas?

Mark

#6 larkins12

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 07:17 PM

I am researching the events that took place in Baku in 1918-1919,


Does anybody have anymore information, photo's, names of those who died. 70 plus died in this action

#7 NigelP

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 07:37 PM

9th North Staffordshire were a pioneer battalion in France where Sgt John Carmichael won the VC in 1917 for saving his men from an unearthed grenade by putting his helmet on it and standing on it while it went off. Remarkably he was not badly injured. 7th battalion also has a VC among its men in the posthumous award to Lt Col Henderson in 1917 while attached to 9th Warwickshire. Henderson was mortally wounded while leading the battalion advance. He was rescued by Lt Phipps who was awarded the VC for the rescue.

Nigel

#8 Alan Tucker

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:14 PM

Correction Lt Edwin Phillips of Hill Top West Bromwich.

9th North Staffordshire were a pioneer battalion in France where Sgt John Carmichael won the VC in 1917 for saving his men from an unearthed grenade by putting his helmet on it and standing on it while it went off. Remarkably he was not badly injured. 7th battalion also has a VC among its men in the posthumous award to Lt Col Henderson in 1917 while attached to 9th Warwickshire. Henderson was mortally wounded while leading the battalion advance. He was rescued by Lt Phipps who was awarded the VC for the rescue.

Nigel



#9 NigelP

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:41 PM

Damn predictive text!