A 1917 Distinguished Conduct Medal for Counter Actions at Bourlon Wood
A 1917 Distinguished Conduct Medal for Counter Actions at Bourlon Wood - George V (16460 L. Cpl A. PRESCOTT. 12/S.W. BORD:). Naming is officially impressed, "C" in "PRESCOTT" is double struck. Dark patina, better than extremely fine. Accompanied by copies of the War Diary for the 12th Battalion, South Wales Borderers (dated November 22 to 25, 1917), as well as Prescott's citation in the Second Supplement to the London Gazette 30601. Footnote: 16460 Lance Corporal A. Prescott was with the 12th Battalion, South Wales Borderers on their advance through the darkness to Graincourt on November 22, 1917. They received orders to attack Bourlon Wood the next day and at 10:30 in the morning on the 23rd, began an intense artillery bombardment on the southern edge, with the infantry soon advancing on the German positions, with tank support. No opposition was met until they advanced into the middle of the woods, with strong resistance following. Enemy machine gun fire was fierce, with several British casualties occurring, officers and NCOs alike. The enemy counter attacked heavily in late afternoon but with support from the 18th Welsh, it prevented the 12th Battalion from becoming surrounded. That attack was beaten off and the 18th Welsh advanced and occupied the high ground in front of the road. By 8:30 in the morning of the 24th, the Germans began a major offensive, attacking in droves with no particular formation. They waited until the enemy was approximately 150 yards away and then opened fire with their rifles and Lewis guns, with not one German reaching their line. Again, reinforcements came from two companies of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders as they settled into a position on a sunken road, about 300 yards in the rear of the line, under barrage. By 9:45, the barrage had lifted and they moved forward, the ASH in front and the 12th Battalion about 50 yards behind. Although they were under constant enemy shelling most of the day, they experienced few casualties. The morning of November 25th saw them facing heavy machine gun fire and snipers but no shells on their front line. The fighting continued throughout the afternoon and in response to a message from the 2nd Scots Guards, who were attacking to their right, the 12th Battalion took their Lewis guns and had all their men direct cover fire, enabling the Guards to capture the high ground, which formed their objective. The enemy tried one last counter attack about 10:00 at night but their advance was noticed by forward posts, enabling terrific bursts of fire by rifles, Lewis guns and Vickers guns, beating back the German attack. Their line on the high ground was handed over intact to the 2/6 Duke of Wellington's Regiment, who relieved the 12th Battalion about an hour later. By November 30th, they assessed their losses as: KIA/DOW (9 officers, 46 other ranks), Wounded (12 officers, 241 other ranks) and Missing (1 officer, 77 other ranks). Prescott's citation for his Distinguished Conduct Medal appeared in the Second Supplement to the London Gazette 30601 of Tuesday, March 26, 1918, on Thursday, March 28, 1918, page 3871: "16460 L./Cpl. A. Prescott, 12th Bn., S. Wales Bord. (Newport). For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in leading the line forward in a counter-attack until held up by two strong points. He organised his men six times, leading them forward, and finally consolidating on the farthest objective gained. He was mainly responsible for breaking a strong enemy counter-attack. Although wounded, he remained throughout the operations."