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Remembered Today:

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Major General Sir Archibald Paris


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#1 michaeldr

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 07:54 PM

14th October 1916

90 years ago Major General Sir Archibald Paris was wounded in the shoulder, the back and he lost his left leg; the RND lost their best beloved commander

from 'The Royal Naval Division' by Douglas Jerrold
"...the Division was shocked to learn, on the afternoon of October 14th, that General Paris had been dangerously wounded on a visit to the 190th Brigade trenches and that Major Sketchley, GSO2 of the Division for so many months had been killed.
General Paris had been with the Naval Division since the day when it was first concentrated in Antwerp. He had commanded them in their most unfortunate as well as in their most successful adventures, and he had never failed them. But he was something more, in the eyes of the Division, than a respected commander: he was an institution. He was the last relic of the days when the Division had fought under orders from the Admiralty: he was the last bulwark between the Division and the Army. And he was a very effective one. He was recognized by those in authority as an officer of pre-eminent caution and prudence. So long as he remained, there would be no attempt to interfere with the internal organization, which meant so largely the fighting efficiency of the Division. It was not, perhaps, realized at the time, how much the Division owed to General Paris in this respect, though it did not take them long to learn it. If he had never erred on the side of over-enthusiastic praises, he had shown his unswerving confidence in the capacity of the Division to do credit to itself as a fighting force, by putting no limit on promotion from within the Division, and by leaving to his subordinate commanders a reasonably free hand in the discharge of their responsibilities. The result had been that it had gathered strength from one reorganization to another, and yet had always preserved its identity. To this achievement General Paris had contributed in no small degree...."



Sir Archibald Paris died on the 30th October 1937

#2 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 08:01 PM

A much respected man - but didnt he recover sufficiently to be given a sea-going commission?

#3 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 09:04 PM

Michael - thanks for your PM. You are right, I am confusing General Paris with Commodore Backhouse, who was given a sea going command subsequent to his service in the RND.

Many thanks,

Jon

#4 michaeldr

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 09:48 AM

Jon, you're an officer and a gentleman

by the way the shell which so badly mauled Paris, carried off poor Sketchley's head
Nothing of the chateau life for these men

#5 Siege Gunner

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 10:58 AM

Paris was replaced by the hugely unpopular General Cameron Shute, whose attempts to impose Army discipline and practices on the RND inspired A P Herbert (Lt, Hawke Bn) to pen the scurrillous ditty 'The General Inspecting the Trenches'.

Mick

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#6 horatio2

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 11:10 AM

General Blumberg in "Britain's Sea Soldiers" records that Gen Paris was wounded and Maj Sketchley killed "by a 5.9 inch shell which burst between them as they were going up the communication trench; fortunately Lt B Nicholson RNVR ADC was only knocked down by the concussion and quickly rendered aid to Gen Paris, who was very seriously wounded in the left leg (which had to be amputated) and also in the shoulder and back." Paris was lucky to survive.

On the matter of his relief, Gen Shute, Blumberg says, tactfully, that he was "...a very able soldier, but at first matters did not go altogether smoothly, as the methods of the RND were peculiar to themselves and somewhat puzzling to newcomers." Understatement, or what?

#7 michaeldr

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 06:26 PM

Mick
Many thanks for that reminder of the humour of APH
God help anyone who drew his wrath!


Horatio,
Shute seems to have been either schizoid or simply, but totally, confused by the RND.
From Capt Chris Page's biography of Asquith, 'Command in the Royal Naval Division'

"On the 7th November Shute reported unfavourably on the RND to V Corps, his immediate superiors, and in scathing terms stated that the division was not in a satisfactory state and that the personnel had a standard of etc etc etc...............................
Some may find it an interesting comment on British generalship during the First World War that, only a few days after so damning an indictment, the Divisional and Corps Commanders were still prepared to allow this unit, assessed as being so far below the standard of the Army units, to attack one of the strongest positions then existing on the Western Front, and one which had bloodily repulsed previous assaults."

Need I remind anyone that the RND's part in this assault was conspicuous by its success?

Nevertheless gentlemen, let us tonight raise a glass to our hero; Sir Archibald Paris
Remembering all that he was, and but for that shell, all that he might have been.

General Paris; God Bless Him!