R.D.C. writes:
When the Great War broke out in 1914, the 1st Battalion went out at once and saw heavy fighting at Le Cateau. In the advance from the Marne it is said to have been the first to cross the river. The 3rd Battalion also took part in this fighting and the 2nd Battalion shortly afterwards arrived from India and soon after, the 4th Battalion came out from England, having also arrived from India. It is impossible here to give any details of the four years' fighting that followed but consulting the Time Line will give some idea. In November 1915, the 4th Battalion proceeded to Salonica where it served throughout the remainder of the War.

During the summer of 1915 the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Service Battalions all went out to France and saw much fighting. The 16th went out in 1916, making altogether four Regular and eight Service Battalions at the Front.

The losses to the regiment during the War were about 546 officers and 11,975 other ranks killed in action or died of wounds.

Frankly there were too many conflicts and far too many casualties to relate here.

For detailed sources of information you should read The Rife Brigade Chronicles issued annually 1914-1919 and consult the very comprehensive War Diaries of each battalion, these written daily whilst in the front line. Both the Chronicles and War Diaries may be seen by arrangement with The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) museum in Winchester.

Excerpts from The Rifle Brigade Calendar
Friday 9 May -1915.—Battle of Aubers Ridge, 2nd Bn. heavily engaged in attack on Fromelles; casualties: all Company officers except 2 and 628 other ranks.

Tuesday 1 July-1916-18 November. The Battles of the Somme 1st Bn. heavily engaged; casualties 23 officers and over 400 other ranks.

Thursday 10 July 1916, 13th Bn. engaged in attack near Pozieres (Battle of Albert) casualties; 20 officers and 380 other ranks.

Citations taken from: FOCUS ON COURAGE, The 59 Victoria Crosses of The Royal Green Jackets by Lieutenant- General Sir Christopher Wallace and Major Ron Cassidy:

COMPANY SERGEANT MAJOR H DANIELS VC (Later Lieutenant Colonel H Daniels VC MC)

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1915 FRANCE
Date of Act of Gallantry: 12 March 1915 Place: Neuve Chapelle

Citation: "For most conspicuous bravery on the 12th March, 1915, at Neuve Chappelle. When his
Battalion was impeded in the advance to the attack by wire entanglements, and subjected to a very
severe machine-gun fire, CSM Daniels and Corporal Noble voluntarily rushed in front and succeeded
in cutting the wires. They were both wounded at once, and Corporal Noble has since died of his
wounds." (London Gazette, 28 April 1915)

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ACTING CORPORAL CR NOBLE VC

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1915 FRANCE
Date of Act of Gallantry: 12 March 1915 Place: Neuve Chapelle

Citation: "For most conspicuous bravery on the 12th March, 1915, at Neuve Chappelle. When their
Battalion was impeded in the advance to the attack by wire entanglements, and subjected to a very
severe machine-gun fire, Corporal Noble and CSM Daniels voluntarily rushed in front and succeeded
in cutting the wires. They were both wounded at once, and Corporal Noble has since died of his
wounds." (London Gazette, 28 April 1915)

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LANCE-SERGEANT DW BELCHER VC (Later Captain DW Belcher VC)

5th (CITY OF LONDON) BATTALION, THE LONDON REGIMENT (LONDON RIFLE BRIGADE) - 1915 BELGIUM
Date of Act of Gallantry: 13 May 1915 Place: Ypres Salient

Citation: "On the early morning of 13th May, 1915, when in charge of a portion of an advanced
breastwork south of the Wieltje-St Julien Road, during a very fierce and continuous bombardment by
the enemy, which frequently blew in the breastwork, Lance-Sergeant Belcher, with a mere handful of
men, elected to remain and endeavour to hold his position after the troops near him had been
withdrawn. By his skill and great gallantry he maintained his position during the day, opening
rapid fire on the enemy, who were only 150 to 200 yards distant, whenever he saw them collecting
for an attack. There is little doubt that the bold front shown by Lance- Sergeant Belcher
prevented the enemy breaking through on the Wieltje road, and averted an attack on the flank of one
of our divisions." (London Gazette, 23 June 1915)

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2nd LIEUTENANT SC WOODROFFE VC

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1915 BELGIUM
Date of Act of Gallantry: 30 July 1915 Place: Hooge

Citation: "On 30th July, 1915, at Hooge, the enemy having broken through the centre of our front
trenches, consequent on the use of burning liquids, this officer's position was heavily attacked
with bombs from the flank and subsequently from the rear, but he managed to defend his post until
all his bombs were exhausted, and then skilfully withdrew his remaining men. He
immediately led his party forward in a counter-attack under an intense rifle and machine-gun fire,
and was killed while in the act of cutting the wire obstacles in the open." (London Gazette, 6
September 1915)

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CORPORAL AG DRAKE VC

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1915 BELGIUM
Date of Act of Gallantry: 23 November 1915 Place: La Brique, near Ypres

Citation: "For conspicuous bravery on the night of 23rd November, 1915, near La Brique, France.
He was one of a patrol of four which was reconnoitring towards the German lines. The patrol was
discovered when close to the enemy, who opened heavy fire with rifles and machine gun, wounding the
officer and one man. The latter was carried back by the remaining man. Corporal Drake remained
with his officer and was last seen kneeling beside him and bandaging his wounds regardless of the
enemy fire. Later a rescue party, crawling near the German lines, found the officer and corporal,
the former was unconscious but alive and bandaged, Corporal Drake beside him dead and riddled with
bullets. He had given his own life and saved his officer." (London Gazette, 22 January 1916)

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BREVET MAJOR WLaT CONGREVE VC DSO MC

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1916 FRANCE
Date of Act of Gallantry: 7-20 July 1916 Place: Longueval (Delville Wood)

Citation: "For most conspicuous bravery during a period of fourteen days preceding his death in
action. This officer constantly performed acts of gallantry and showed the greatest devotion to
duty; and by his personal example inspired all those around him with confidence at critical periods
of the operations. During preliminary preparations for the attack he carried out position
reconnaissances of the enemy lines, taking out parties of officers and non-commissioned officers
for over 1,000 yards in front of our lines, in order to acquaint them with the ground. All these
preparations were made under fire. Later, by night, Major Congreve conducted a battalion to its
position of employment, afterwards returning to it to ascertain the situation after the assault.
He established himself in an exposed forward position from whence he successfully observed the
enemy, and gave orders necessary to drive them from their position. Two days later, when Brigade
Headquarters was heavily shelled and many casualties resulted, he went out and assisted the medical
officer to remove the wounded to places of safety, although he was himself suffering severely from
gas and other shell effects. He again on a subsequent occasion showed supreme courage in tending
the wounded under heavy shell fire. He finally returned to the front line to ascertain the
situation after an unsuccessful attack, and whilst in the act of writing his report was shot and
killed instantly." (London Gazette, 26 October 1916)

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2nd LIEUTENANT GE CATES VC

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1917 FRANCE
Date of Act of Gallantry: 8 March 1917 Place: East of Bouchavesnes

Citation: "For most conspicuous gallantry and self-sacrifice. When engaged with some other men in
deepening a captured trench, their officer struck with his spade a buried bomb, which immediately
started to burn; 2nd Lieutenant Cates, in order to save the lives of his comrades, placed his foot
on the bomb, which immediately exploded. He showed the most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to
duty in performing the act which cost his life but saved the lives of others. This heroic young
officer died of his wounds the same night, 9th March, 1917." (London Gazette, 11 May 1917)

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SERGEANT WF BURMAN VC

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1917 BELGIUM
Date of Act of Gallantry: 20 September 1917 Place: Bulgar Wood, near Ypres

Citation: "For most conspicuous bravery when the advance of his company was held up by an enemy
machine-gun firing at point blank range. He shouted to the man next to him to wait a few minutes,
and, going forward to what seemed certain death, killed the enemy gunner and carried the gun to the
Company's objective, where he subsequently used it with effect. By this exceptionally gallant act
the progress of the attack was assured. About fifteen minutes later it was observed that the
Battalion on the right was being impeded by a party of about forty of the enemy, who were
enfilading them. Sergeant Burman, with two others, ran forward and got behind the enemy, killing
six and capturing two officers and twenty-nine other ranks." (London Gazette, 26 November 1917)

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SERGEANT AJ KNIGHT VC (Later 2nd Lieutenant AJ Knight VC MBE)

8th (CITY OF LONDON) BATTALION, THE LONDON REGIMENT (POST OFFICE RIFLES) - 1917 BELGIUM
Date of Act of Gallantry: 20 September 1917 Place: Hubner Farm, near Ypres

Citation: "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the operations against the
enemy positions. Sergeant Knight did extraordinarily good work, and showed exceptional bravery and
initiative when his platoon was attacking an enemy strong point, and came under very heavy fire
from an enemy machine gun. He rushed through our own barrage, bayoneted the enemy gunner, and
captured the position single-handed. Later, twelve of the enemy with a machine gun were
encountered in a shell-hole. He again rushed forward by himself, bayoneted two and shot a third
and caused the remainder to scatter. Subsequently, during the attack on a fortified farm, when
entangled up to his waist in mud, and seeing a number of the enemy firing on our troops, he
immediately opened fire on them without waiting to extricate himself from the mud, killing six of
the enemy. Again, noticing the company on his right flank being held up in their attack on another
farm, Sergeant Knight collected some men and took up a position on the
flank of this farm, from where he brought a heavy fire to bear on the farm as a result of which the
farm was captured. All the platoon officers of the company had become casualties before the first
objective was reached, and this gallant non-commissioned officer took command of all the men of his
own platoon and of the platoons without officers. His energy in consolidating and reorganising was untiring. His several single-handed actions showed exceptional bravery, and saved a great number of casualties in the company. They were performed under heavy machine- gun and rifle fire, and without regard to personal risk, and were the direct cause of the objectives being captured." (London Gazette, 8 November 1917)

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LANCE SERGEANT JE WOODALL VC (Later Captain JE Woodall VC)

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1918 FRANCE
Date of Act of Gallantry: 22 April 1918 Place: La Pannerie, near Hinges

Citation: "For most conspicuous bravery and fine leadership during an attack. Sergeant Woodall
was in command of a platoon which, during the advance, was held up by a machine gun. On his own
initiative he rushed forward and, single-handed, captured the gun and eight men. After the
objective had been gained, heavy fire was encountered from a farmhouse some
200 yards in front. Sergeant Woodall collected ten men, and, with great dash and gallantry,
rushed the farm and took thirty prisoners. Shortly afterwards, when the officer in charge was
killed, he took entire command, reorganised the two platoons, and disposed of them skilfully.
Throughout the day, in spite of intense shelling and machine-gun fire, this gallant Non-
Commissioned Officer was constantly on the move, encouraging the men and finding out and sending
back invaluable information. The example set by Sergeant Woodall was simply
magnificent and had a marked effect on the troops. The success of the operation on this
portion of the front is attributed almost entirely to his coolness, courage and utter
disregard forhis own personal safety." (London Gazette, 28 June 1918)

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SERGEANT W GREGG VC DCM MM

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1918 FRANCE
Date of Act of Gallantry: 8 May 1918 Place: Bucquoy

Citation: "For most conspicuous bravery and brilliant leadership in action. Two companies of his
unit attacked the enemy's outpost position without artillery preparation. Sergeant Gregg was with
the right company, which came under heavy fire from the right flank as it advanced. All the
officers of the company were hit. He at once took command of the attack. He rushed an enemy post
and personally killed an entire machine-gun crew and captured the gun and four men in a dug-out
near by. He then rushed another post, killed two men and captured another. In spite of the heavy
casualties he reached his objective and started consolidating the position. By this prompt and
effective action this gallant Non-Commissioned Officer saved the situation at a critical time and
ensured the success of the attack. Later Sergeant Gregg's party were driven
back by an enemy counter-attack, but, reinforcements coming up, he led a charge, personally
bombed a hostile machine gun, killed the crew and captured the gun. Once again he was driven back.
He led another successful attack, and hung on to the position until ordered by his Company
Commander to withdraw. Although under very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire for several hours,
Sergeant Gregg displayed throughout the greatest coolness and contempt of danger, walking about
encouraging his men and setting a magnificent example." (London Gazette, 28 June 1918)

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RIFLEMAN W BEESLEY VC (Later Corporal W Beesley VC)

THE RIFLE BRIGADE - 1918 FRANCE
Date of Act of Gallantry: 8 May 1918 Place: Bucquoy

Citation: "For most conspicuous bravery. The enemy's outpost position was attacked by two
companies of his unit without artillery preparation. Rifleman Beesley was in the leading wave of
the left company which came under heavy fire as it approached the enemy's front line. His Platoon
Sergeant and all the Section Commanders were killed. This young soldier, realising the situation,
at once took command and led the assault. Single handed he rushed the post and with his revolver
killed two of the enemy at a machine gun. He then shot dead an officer who ran across from a
dug-out to take their place at the machine gun. Three more officers appeared from the dug-out and
these he called on to surrender. Seeing one of them trying to get rid of a map, he shot him and
obtained the map. He took four more prisoners from a dug-out and two others from a shelter close
by, disarmed them and sent them back to our lines. At this moment his Lewis gun was brought up by
a comrade who was acting as carrier. Rifleman Beesley at once brought it
into action and used it with great effect against the enemy as they bolted towards their support
line, inflicting many casualties. For four hours Rifleman Beesley and his comrade held on to the
position under very heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. The enemy then advanced to counter- attack,
and the other soldier was wounded. Rifleman Beesley carried on by himself and actually maintained
his position until 10 p.m. Some of the posts on his right and left had been practically wiped out
and the survivors had fallen back. It was mainly due to this action that the enemy were prevented
from rushing the position, and that the remnants of his Company when compelled to withdraw were
able to do so, without further loss. When darkness set in Rifleman Beesley made his way back to
the original line from which the attack had started, bringing with him the wounded carrier and the
Lewis gun. He at once mounted the Lewis gun in the trench and remained in action until things had
quietened down. The indomitable pluck, skilful shooting and good judgement in economising
ammunition displayed by Rifleman Beesley stamped the
incident as one of the most brilliant actions in recent operations." (London Gazette, 28 June 1918

Brevet Major William ( Billy) La Touche Congreve V.C., D.S.O., M.C.,
Billy Congreve was the first person in the First World War to be
awarded the V.C., D.S.O. and M.C.
He was the eldest son of General Sir Walter Congreve V.C. who had
received his award of the V.C. at Colenso in 1899.
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