A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt. attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery.

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A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery.








AN HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT & GREATLY DESIRABLE, 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness)
MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES FOUR TIMES.


To.
T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.
attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery.


A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. [FOUR TIMES MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES.]



1) Field Marshall Douglas Haig: LG 24th December 1917
2) Field Marshall Herbert Plumber: LG. 30th May 1918
( France & Flanders )
3 &4 ) Field Marshall Earl of Cavan: L.G. 6th January 1919 & 5th June 1919 ( For his later service in Italy )

A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. [BIOGRAPHY] 1883-1941
William Crossley Wale was born in Jhelum, Bengal, India on 31st January 1883. He was the son of an Indian Railway Locomotive & Fuel Inspector, Joshua Wale & his wife Alison Caulton Wale.

He attested for the 8th Yorks & Lancs regiment aged 31 and obtained a commission on 12th October 1914. His address at the time of enlistment was 114 Kingston Road, New Malden, Surrey.

He landed in France with 8th Yorks & Lancs on 28th August 1915 at Boulogne. On 23rd May 1916 he was transferred to the general list for duty with 70th Light Trench Mortar Battery which in common with all the 'light' batteries was directly controlled by the parent unit at local brigade level. On 10th June 1916 he was promoted to Temporary Captain for his period with the mortar battery.

Willy Wale was clearly a very exceptional officer who won his first Military Cross on 1st July 1916 on the First Day of the Battle of the Somme for his gallantry during the attack at Ovillers-La Boisselle (Authuille Wood and Mash Valley) where he stood in the open with the men of his mortar teams directing more accurate fire while subject to withering enemy machine gun fire and directly responding German heavy artillery.

After WW1 Captain Wale was a member of ADRIC (Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary) and after discharge from all service commitments on 13th January 1922, Captain Wale resided at 34 Morris Road & 83 Portsmouth Road, Southampton. He died in Southampton in January 1941 aged just 59. He was married to Mrs Lydia Crossley Wale.

A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. [MILITARY CROSS]London Gazette, *22nd September 1916. (A Very Rare & Desirable MILITARY CROSS Awarded for Gallantry at Ovillers-La Boiselle on *1st July 1916, First Day, Battle of The Somme.)

A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. " For conspicuous gallantry during an attack he directed his guns with great skill and coolness several times going out into the open under heavy fire to assist his gun teams"

Willy won his second Military Cross for gallantry during the Battle of Messines Ridge on 7th June 1917 when in full view of the German lines and under an intense enemy shell barrage & withering machine gun fire he personally helped to hand dig five trapped men out of a collapsed dug-out.

A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. [BAR TO MILITARY CROSS]London Gazette, 17th September 1917. (Second Award for The Battle of Messines Ridge, 7th June 1917)

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During an intense hostile bombardment he collected a party of volunteers and proceeded along a shallow trench in view of the enemy to the rescue of five men who were buried in a dug-out. The success of the party's efforts was entirely due to his fine personal example of coolness and determination. This officer has on many occasions performed deeds of gallantry by which he has earned the admiration of the whole of his brigade"

[8th BATTALION YORKS & LANCS REGIMENT]
The 8th Battalion was formed in Pontefract in September 1914 and in October 1914 joined the 23rd Division as part of 70th Brigade. The same year it was at Frensham, Hants, in October, and at Aldershot in December. In February 1915 it was at Shorncliffe, Kent and was back in Hampshire at Bordon Camp at the end of May.

The battalion landed in France at Boulogne on the 27 August 1915, and in October 1915 transferred with the 70th Brigade to the 8th Division. After the Battalion landed in Boulogne they went on to the Western Front, concentrating as a Division at Tilques (a few miles north-west of St Omer).

[The other units in 70th Brigade were:]
11th Sherwood Foresters.
8th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
9th York and Lancaster Regt.
1/8th Middlesex Regt (until Feb 1916)
70th Machine Gun Corps.
and Willy's associated unit ......"70th Trench Mortar Battery"


(( The 70th Light Trench Mortar Battery was formed 18 June 1916 and equipped with Stokes mortars. As with all the 'light' TMB's the 70th was controlled at local brigade level and as such the crews served geographically in close proximity & directly alongside their parent infantry units. This had the effect of intimately accurate local control and further meant that gallantry awards were listed against the man's actual parent regiment & battalion rather than the TMB.

The "medium & heavy" TMB's were largely controlled by the Royal Artillery and as such the men who fought with these units received gallantry awards listed against the particular TMB / R.A. unit with which they served.))

The 70th 'light' TMB was thus serving along side 8th Yorks & Lancs at Authullie Wood on 1st July 1916 and both Willy's M.C's are listed against 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.

[PREPARATIONS FOR THE "BIG PUSH"]
[30th Jun 1916] 70th Infrantry Brigade move up for attack.
[1st July 1916] 8th Yorks and Lancs, 1st Day, Battle of The Somme.
Plans had long been in place for the great offensive along the line of the River Somme to draw the Germans away from Verdun to the East and so relieve the beleaguered French forces there. Despite what many people have been told about the Somme battle, it was never intended to be a war-winning campaign. It had clearly defined strategic aims, and in many respects was successful, it’s failures are extremely complex and outside the scope of this article. That it has become a by-word for failure and incompetence is, in my opinion, unfair. The huge and terrible loss of life has blinded us to any other interpretation but it is pertinent to remember that a German Staff Officer described the Somme as ‘the muddy grave of the German Field Army’.

A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. [07:30 Saturday 1st July 1916, FIRST DAY, BATTLE OF THE SOMME]
After our artillery barrage lifted and at 07.22 the trench mortar batteries commenced what was known as their "Hurricane Bombardment", and three minutes later the leading waves of the many front line battalions moved out into No Man’s Land.

The 70th Brigade battalions began their assault near the village of Ovillers at 7.30am. Immediately after leaving their trenches the battalions came under heavy machine gun fire and most of the men were killed or wounded. The remainder carried on and took the enemy front line trenches and about 70 men eventually reached as far as the third line of German trenches, but only one man returned from there! What was left of the battalion remained fighting in the first line of trenches until overwhelmed. Such was the ferocity of the fighting that the Germans were forced to move extra troops in to face the 70th Brigade and this enabled other British units to make significant advances.

The 8th Bn York and Lancaster Regiment took 680 men and 23 Officers over the parapet, all the Officers were either killed or wounded and of the battalion only 68 men returned. With a 90% casualty rate the battalion had effectively ceased to exist as a fighting unit and was withdrawn that evening.
The 8th K.O.Y.L.I.'s who fought alongside the 8th Y&L suffered an almost identical number of losses.

A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. [7th Jun 1917, BATTLE OF MESSINES]
The 8th Yorks and Lancs are in action at the Battle of Messines from 7th to 14th June 1917

"...Mortar Fire usually drew swift retaliation from the enemy. British Officer Edward Beddington Behrens described mortar crews as: "the suicide club....desperate men, brave as anything, rather nervy though"

The trench mortar crews had two polite nicknames (christened by the Australians) which have been recorded "The shoot and scoot mob" and "the duckboard harriers", due to their tendency to draw enemy retaliatory fire. By all accounts they were very unpopular with the infantry who had to stay and wear ”the hate“.

A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery. A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS  & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D  To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt.  attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery.



This is another example of those 'once in a lifetime' museum quality groups in which we specialise. Because of their historical standing and sheer rarity they are in truth actually beyond basic monetary value. However, and to get things into perspective we here offer this lovely group at a price level which frankly is concurrent of that of a very basic second hand car.


The group is in superb EF+ condition throughout and is on original ribbons. The MC & Bar is in its original case, and is unnamed as issued. Comes complete with copy of his officers file. Captain Wale also served with ADRIC in Ireland during the early troubles in the 1920's but clearly all associated papers have been stripped from his officers file (WO 339/13626) which we inspected and copied at the national archive on 25th July.


£12,995 ....with part-exchanges welcome.....
Call us on 01342-870926 or dragonbrit@aol.com

A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916

A SUPERB 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt. attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery.
£12995

AN HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT & GREATLY DESIRABLE, 1st JULY 1916 "FIRST DAY OF THE SOMME" MILITARY CROSS & 2nd AWARD BAR (Battle of Messiness) FOUR TIMES M.I.D To.T/ Capt) William Crossley Wale. 8th Yorks & Lancs Regt. attd: 70th (Light) Trench Mortar Battery.