|Lieutenant Dudley Gerald MEIN MC|
|31st Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers attached to the Mysore Imperial LancersDate of birth: 1st May 1898
Date of death: 26th October 1918
Killed in action aged 20
|He was born at Chakrata in India on the 1st of May 1898, the second son of Colonel Alexander Lechmere Mein, Royal Engineers, and Alice Ellen (nee Turner-Irton) Mein of Gangbridge House, St Mary Bourne, in Hampshire.He attended Junior King’s Canterbury from January 1909 to July 1910, going on to Kelly College, Tavistock in Devon.
On leaving school he attended Wellington Cadet College in Madras where he won the cavalry saddle and bridle and was specially congratulated by Major General Sir Arthur Phayre on his horsemanship.
On the 18th of April 1916 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Indian Army Reserve of Officers and on the 25th of April he was attached to the 31st Duke of Connaught’s Lancers in the Indian Army. He saw service in Egypt and Palestine part of the Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Mounted Division and was promoted to Lieutenant on the 18th of April 1917. In 1917 he served with his regiment in the Mahaud Campaign on the North West Frontier following which he was attached to the 25th Cavalry and returned to India in March 1918. In April he was sent to Palestine and was attached to the Mysore Imperial Service Lancers.
He won the Military Cross on the 23rd of September 1918 which appeared in the London Gazette on the 4th of October 1919. The citation reads:-
“For gallantry and skilful leadership before Haifa on the 23rd of September 1918. He worked his squadron round to the coast about two miles, East of Haifa, and charged the enemy simultaneously with the Jodhpur Lancers. Capturing two guns, two machine guns and 110 prisoners. He showed himself to be an officer of exceptional gallantry and coolness under fire.”
This is from General Sir Edmund Allenby’s Dispatch which was published in the London Gazette #31087, dated 30th December 1918.
“Early on the morning of October 26th the armoured cars and the 15th Cavalry Brigade, moving round the west side of the town, followed the enemy along the Aleppo-Katma road and gained touch with him south-east of Haritan. The Turkish rearguard consisted of some 2,500 infantry, 150 cavalry, and eight guns. The Mysore Lancers and two squadrons of the Jodhpur Lancers attacked the enemy’s left; covered by the fire of the armoured cars, the Machine Gun Squadron and two dismounted squadrons of the Jodhpur Lancers. The Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers charged most gallantly. A number of Turks were speared, and many threw down their arms, only to pick them up again when the cavalry had passed through, and their weakness had become apparent. The squadrons were not strong enough to complete the victory, and were withdrawn till a larger force could be assembled.”
His Commanding Officer wrote:-
“He will be a great loss to us, for he was always so keen and cheerful and quite fearless and was beloved by all the officers and men.”
His Brigadier wrote:-
“He was a born soldier and leader of men and extremely popular with all who knew him. By his death the service he sustained a very great loss and we in the brigade have lost a sincere friend. He met his end in a glorious charge against heavy odds, in a manner which anyone connected with him may well feel proud.”
The Commanding Officer Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers also wrote:-
“He was specially selected by my predecessor in command for appointment with this regiment from the excellent reports he had received at Wellington and he so thoroughly justified his selection that we feel the regiment has sustained a great loss in so gallant a lad.”
He was mentioned in dispatches for his actions during the period from the 16th of March to the 16th of September 1918.
Towards the end of September 1918 I was one of a party of nine men and an officer taking part in a silent raid in the Ypres sector, a little in front of the well-known spot called Swan and Edgar’s Corner. The raid was the outcome of an order from Headquarters demanding prisoners for information.
Everything had been nicely arranged. We were to approach the German line by stealth, surprise an outpost, and get back quickly to our own trenches with the prisoners.
Owing perhaps to the wretchedness of the night – it was pouring with rain, and intensely black – things did not work according to plan. Instead of reaching our objective, our party became divided, and the group that I was with got hopelessly lost. There were five of us, including “Ginger,” a Cockney.
We trod warily for about an hour, when we suddenly came up against a barbed-wire entanglement, in the centre of which we could just make out the figure of a solitary German. After whispered consultation, we decided to take him prisoner, knowing that the German, having been stationary, had not lost sense of direction and could guide us back to our line.
Noiselessly surmounting the barbed wire, we crept up to him and in a second Ginger was on him. Pointing his bayonet in Fritz’s back, he said, “Nah, then, you blighter, show us the way ‘ome.”
Very coolly and without the slightest trace of fear, the German replied in perfect English, “I suppose you mean me to lead you to the British trenches.”
“Oh!” said Ginger, “so yer speak English, do yer?”
“Yes,” said the German, “I was a waiter at a restaurant in Piccadilly before the war.”
“Piccadilly, eh? You’re just the feller we want. Take us as far as Swan and Edgar’s Corner.”
R. Allen (late Middlesex Regt., 41st Division, 7 Moreland Street, Finsbury Park, N.4
From the Andover Advertiser, 25 October 1918
Much sympathy is extended to Mr and Mrs Henry Gibbons on the loss through being killed in action of their youngest son, William, at the age of 24 years. On 12th January 1915, he joined the A.S.C. but was later transferred to the Somerset Light Infantry, in whose ranks he fell.
He had been in France for more than 3 years, and had not had leave for 12 months, so that his relatives were eagerly looking forward to seeing him. Their hopes, however, were blighted about a fortnight ago when the War Office wrote to say that he was killed on 1st September.
Mr and Mrs Gibbons have three other sons serving: all are in France, and it is our sincere wish that they will be spared to return.
At the parish church on Sunday, a memorial service was held for the deceased, also for Hector Hibberd, whose death in France we reported recently.
Andover Advertiser 12th July 1918
SERIOUSLY WOUNDED – Mr and Mrs Barnes of Ivy Cottages, have received news from the War Office that their son, Pte. Barnes 2nd /4th Oxford and Bucks , has been severely wounded and is now in hospital in Birmingham. This is the first news they have heard of him since 4th April. All their friends hope he will have a speedy recovery.
Andover Advertiser 7th June 1918
DEVOTION TO DUTY – Sergeant W.C. Holdway of the 2nd King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, son of Mr and Mrs Holdway of Link, has been awarded the D.C.M. under the following circumstances :- For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a counter attack. During the advance through a heavy barrage he moved about from section to section of his platoon, guiding them through the wire and inspiring them by his cheerfulness and utter disregard of danger. When the company, after capturing the objective, was much troubled by an enemy sniper, he worked his way out to a flank and succeeded in putting him out of action. He set a splendid example to his men through out the operation. All of us congratulate Sergeant Holdway and hope he may be spared to return home with further honours.
Andover Advertiser 31st May 1918
GIVEN HIS LIFE – Above we reproduce the photograph of Private Frank Willis, R.A.M.C. son of Mrs Edward Willis (formerly of St Mary Bourne), who was killed in action on 29th April 1918 near Ypres, His Commanding Officer, writing home, says ; “He was one of my best lads. He always did his work cheerfully and well”.
Andover Advertiser 3rd May 1918
PRISONERS IN GERMAN HANDS – Last week we mentioned that Pte. A. Biggs R.M.L.I. had written home to say that he was a prisoner of war at Limberg. Three other local men are now known to be prisoners of war in Germany. 2nd Lieut. J.R.H. McIntosh, Private Fred Annals and Pte. Richard Davis of the Inniskilling Fusiliers, son of Mrs Brown of Lower Rank. A card was received from him on Thursday morning saying he was quite well, and he was taken prisoner.
Andover Advertiser 20th April 1918
A PRISONER IN GERMANY – After an absence of information for five weeks Mrs Biggs of Woodbine Holdings, has received a postcard from her husband, Private Arthur William Biggs, saying that he is a prisoner of war at Limberg. Private Biggs who belongs to the Royal Marines Light Infantry, is the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Biggs, Cress View, St Mary Bourne. He joined up about a year ago, and for the last five months has been on service in France. His card was written on 31st March but it only reached St Mary Bourne on Wednesday morning (18th April), bringing welcome relief to the great anxiety which was felt for his safety. No official communication has been received from the War Office. Private Biggs has two brothers serving as well. Q.M.S. Walter Biggs with the Royal Field Artillery and Trooper Joe Biggs with the Yeomanry in Palestine.
Andover Advertiser 8th February 1918
ANOTHER MILITARY FAMILY – We have been asked to write a paragraph concerning the military history of Mr W.C. Moorse’s family, and have great pleasure in doing so. Harold the youngest son, joined the Hampshire Regiment when 18 years old. For five years he served abroad, two years as schoolmaster sergeant, until war broke out. He was sent to England, and having been given a commission in the York and Lancaster Regiment, proceeded to France in February 1915. We regret to have to say that he lost his life in action about a month later. – Sergeant Frank Moorse R.A.M.C. was at Netley Hospital for some time. Two years ago he was drafted to Salonika and has been there ever since. – Sergeant William Moorse was in the Wessex Division when war broke out, and for the first three years saw Service in the Dardanelles, Egypt and Palestine. – Driver Walter Moorse also of the Wessex Division has seen the same service as his brother William, and strange to say both had their Christmas dinner in Jerusalem.
Andover Advertiser 28th January 1918
MILITARY HONOUR – Some time ago we reported that Lieut. W.R. Tovani, of the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), elder son of the Rev. W.T. Tovani vicar of Hurstbourne Priors, with St Mary Bourne, had been awarded the Military Cross. The following is the official account of what he did :- Lieutenant William Richard Tovani (Royal Highlanders). On 31st July 1917 during the attack, when his Company Commander had become a casualty, though wounded in the face carried on leading his men with the utmost gallantry, and capturing a machine gun concrete emplacement which was causing great hindrance to the advance to the first objective. He continued to lead his company to the second objective till he was twice again wounded and compelled to desist.