medal code j3199

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A FINE “1ST DAY OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME”, 1 JULY 1916 M.M. AWARDED TO PRIVATE, 24TH (PALS) BATTALION, NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS, OR 1ST TYNESIDE IRISH FOR CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY IN BRINGING IN HIS SEVERELY WOUNDED COMMANDING OFFICER IN FROM “NO MAN’S LAND” UNDER HEAVY FIRE DURING THE ATTACK ON LA BOISSELLE

MILITARY MEDAL, G.V.R. ‘24-278 PTE M. KIERNAN. 24/NTH’LD FUS:’

M.M. London Gazette 23 August 1916

His recommendation published in the 1917 book ‘Irish Heroes in the War’ by T.P. O'Connor:

‘For conspicuous gallantry under heavy fire. He went out from the crater on several occasions under most heavy fire to bring his commanding officer (who was seriously wounded, and lying in “No Man’s Land”) to safety, and dress his wounds. On two occasions he had to return as the man he took out with him was killed.’

Lance Corporal Michael Kiernan from Hebburn on Tyne, Northumberland, enlisted in the 24th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Irish), 16 October 1915. The battalion proceeded to France in January 1916 as part of the 103rd Brigade, 34th Division and took part in the first day of the battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916, suffering an horrendous number of casualties during their attack on La Boisselle. 620 Officers and men of the 24th became casualties that day, including their Commanding Officer who was severely wounded leading the attack and who died of wounds on the 2 July. Given the date of the Gazette, the fact that the battalion was pretty much out of action after 1 July and details of his recommendation, it is all but certain that it was for bringing Lt Colonel Meredith Howard in, that Private Kiernan was awarded the Military Medal.

From the Tyneside Irish Brigade association website:

“1st July 1916: On the first day on the Somme, the 34th Division attacked astride the Albert-Bapaume road at La Boisselle. The Brigade's task was to follow up the main attack by the 101st and 102nd Brigades and advance on a line from Pozières to Contalmaison.

“1st July 1916: On the first day on the Somme, the 34th Division attacked astride the Albert-Bapaume road at La Boisselle. The Brigade's task was to follow up the main attack by the 101st and 102nd Brigades and advance on a line from Pozières to Contalmaison.

The Brigade suffered heavy casualties even before its Battalions reached the British front-line. Opposite La Boisselle the Brigade was halted but on the right, elements of the 1st and 4th Battalions were able to advance up 'Sausage Valley' and pass through the German front-line. Two small parties met up behind the German support trench and pushed on towards their objective of Contalmaison. Their effort was in vain as they were eventually killed or captured.

The 1st battalion suffered 620 casualties on 1 July (18 officers and 602 other ranks), its commander, Lieutenant Colonel L.M. Howard, was among the dead. The 4th Battalion suffered 539 casualties (20 officers and 519 other ranks). While the commanders of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were both wounded, as was the Brigade commander, Brigadier General N.J.G. Cameron.

The Brigade's losses on 1 July were so severe that on the 6th, it, along with the 102nd (Tyneside Scottish) Brigade, was transferred to the 37th Division, swapping with the 112th Brigade.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/103rd_(Tyneside_Irish)_Brigade

‘The Irish on the Somme’ has a chapter on the Tyneside Irish’s attack on La Boisselle on 1 July 1916 (copy of chapter with research). This chapter describes in detail the attack and that Seventy-three officers and men of the Tyneside Irish received decorations for the attack: four Distinguished Service Orders and twenty Military Crosses went to the officers, eight Distinguished Conduct Medals and forty Military Medals were received by the men, and a sergeant was awarded the high Russian decoration of the Order of St. George. It also records that the Commanding Officer who was severely wounded and later died of wounds, was Lt Colonel Louis Meredith Howard.

Promoted Lance Corporal, Kiernan was discharged on 18 March 1917, as a consequence of receiving a gun shot wound to his left leg (entitled to a Silver War Badge and a Great War pair), the date of his wound is unknown. His pension card notes he had moved to Govan, Glasgow by 1924.

Condition, couple of EK’s otherwise VF. Sold with copy MIC, medal rolls, MM recommendation page from ‘Irish Heroes in the War’, chapter from ‘The Irish on the Somme’ and other research. There is much online and various books about the Tyneside Irish, so plenty of further research potential.

A very fine citation which are scarce enough to find with M.M.’s, especially for the 1st day of the battle of the Somme.

Code J3199        Price £ SOLD