AN EXCITING 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" Military Medal & 1914-1915 Trio. To: 1921 Sgt E. H. Blanthorn.1/1st South Midland Field Ambulance, R.A.M.C. (Seriously wounded 2nd July losing his right eye due to a shell burst.)
AN EXCITING 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY, OF THE SOMME" MILITARY MEDAL & 1914-1915 Trio.
1921. SGT EDWARD H. BLANTHORN
1/1st South Midland Field Ambulance,
ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS.
Edward Henry BLANTHORNE was born in the parish of Christchurch, Birmingham in 1880. He was a young member of the local Boys Brigade. He is seen aged 27/5, a storekeeper, on the 3rd April 1908 attesting for the Army Reserve (?) after previously declared service in 3rd Durham R.G.A. (Vols) with an address at 113 Boulton Road, Handsworth. He again attested for service in the Great War with R.A.M.C. on 10th August 1914 , still a storekeeper, of 33/8 but now living at 45 Holliday Road, Handsworth. We have the two original hand written recruits certified copies of both these attestation documents.
SERIOUSLY WOUNDED 2nd JULY 1916, LOSING RIGHT EYE.The War Diary for the 1/1st South Midland Divisional Ambulance confirms that the unit was detached from 48th Division and attached to 88th Brigade (29th Division) in preparation for the 'big push'. It was in action from 1st July-4th July during the Division’s attack on Beaumont-Hamel where they were in action in the Battle of the Somme, suffering heavy casualties on the 1st of July in assaulting the Quadrilateral (Heidenkopf). [29 Division, 88th & 86th Infantry Brigades & 1st Lancashire Fusiliers]When the Hawthorn Redoubt mine was exploded at 07:30am, some men of 1st Lancashire Fusiliers moved forward and ran towards the crater; they were however, laden down by heavy kit, and before they reached their objective they were either killed or seriously wounded by German machine-gunners coming up from their deep dug-outs. Rising from their trench at 7.30am, and most famously it was many of the men of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers who were shot down within 20 yards of their approach trench by German soldiers who had been at their positions for 5 minutes, warned by the explosion of the mine. It was these wounded men of the 86th & 88th brigades who were attended under withering shell and machine gun fire by Sgt BLANTHORN during the first 36 hours of the assault on 1st & 2nd July 1916.
His Military Medal was therefore, by simple deduction, awarded for his brave actions in the field on the "First Day of The Battle of The Somme" while in support of 29th Division’s attack on Beaumont Hamel,..... "where for 36hrs he dressed wounds under shell fire", and it was therefore on the 2nd July 1916, that Sgt Blanthorn was taken off the battlefield after being seriously wounded by a shell burst and losing his right eye.
[THE PUBLISHED AWARD DETAILS].......(From a report published in The Birmingham Daily Post of 11th April 1917 noting the presentation of his Military Medal.) ......the act “for which he has been decorated took place during the advance in July 1916, when for thirty six-hours he dressed wounds under shell-fire. Later he received wounds at Beaumont Hamel through a shell exploding in front of an ambulance wagon conveying wounded from the battle. This necessitated the removal of his right eye.” Sgt Blanthorn's MM was announced in the London Gazette on 11th November 1916 along with many other 1st Day awards. (Howard Williamson's book refers.)
The information about being wounded at Beaumont-Hamel and losing an eye also features in the National Roll of The Great War. Apparently after a period of convalescence Edward returned to duty (minus his right eye) in France. We also have his original discharge velum showing his discharge from the R.A.M.C at Woking, Surrey, on 6th March 1919 ( with an authorised pension to 11/11/1918 .The medals are "Mint State" on their original ribbons ....a VERY rare & emotive award to a true hero of 1st July 1916 who even returned back to duty in France with one eye ! ................AND NEVER WORE HIS MEDALS !!!! .....Edward .....100 years down the road .....for your bravery and sheer undiluted guts ......we salute you.£1550 PART EXCHANGES VERY WELCOME. ( But Priceless !) email@example.com (or) 01342-870926