Thread: Military Awards
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:01 PM
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Default Ditchburn and the 5th NF

Regarding Ditchburn's capture, The 50th Division, of which the 5th NF was part of, had taken over from a French Division in early May 1918 to the north of the River Aisne. This period was marked by the major German offensive which had begun in March. The renewed attack that began on the 27th of May was the start of what became known as the third Battle of the Aisne. The 50th Division was pretty much destroyed here - large numbers of men captured and even Northumberland Artillery units being outflanked and going in the bag, Colonels and all.
The 5th NF in reserve at the start advanced, but were caught in heavy artillery and machine gun fire - repeatedly outflanked they were eventually reduced to just a handful.

The German records with the Red Cross show Didtchburn was captured on the 27th at Berry au Bac, and he was wounded in the the right arm at the time. I've added below the map for the area just prior to the offensive on the 27th. You can see Berry au Bac on the river Aisne, and if you follow the river west you will find the 5/NF, in reserve, near a place called Pontavert.



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