A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918)

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A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918) A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918) A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918)







A MAGNIFICENT “ONE MAN ARMY”
(Battle of Poelcappelle)
DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL

& 1914-15 Trio

With a Stunning Hand to Hand
‘Bayonet Combat’ Battle Citation.


To:
3-7312. Pte - Sgt W.V. WATKINS.
1st SOMERSET LIGHT INFANTRY.


(“KILLED-IN-ACTION” 10th AUGUST 1918, Age 47)

Lance-Cpl W.V. WATKINS (Extract from Regimental History)
“During the attack on Poelcappelle a very gallant deed was performed by L/Cpl Watkins of C Company. A portion of the line was held up by fire from a Pill-Box. This gallant N.C.O. though already wounded in the arm went forward alone under heavy fire, worked round a flank, and attacked the Pill-Box single handed, bayoneted three of the enemy, captured a machine gun and its crew, and enabling the remainder of the line to advance. He was awarded the D.C.M. but unfortunately, after having been promoted Sergeant, was killed by a chance shell the following summer”

(CITATION)
DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL
(London Gazette, 26 November 1917)

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in working round the rear of a 'pill-box', that was holding up his platoon, he killed three of the garrison of twelve with the bayonet. This enabled the remainder of the platoon to rush up and capture the 'pill-box', and account for the remainder of the garrison except two”

A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918) William Vaughan Watkins was born in 1871 at St. John, Bristol. It seems likely he joined the colours in late 1914. His actual age in 1914 was 43, which was two years over the maximum enlistment age of 41 So, it’s pretty certain that he lied about his true age to ensure enlistment. He served in France with the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry from 7 April 1915. Promoted Lance-Corporal on 10th May 1915, it was for his great gallantry in action with 'C' Company in the mud of Poelcapelle around 'Kangaroo Trench' that he won his very well-deserved Distinguished Conduct Medal.

A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918) [THE REGIMENTAL HISTORY TAKES UP THE STORY]
”Kangaroo Trench was found occupied by the Germans, but they gave little trouble. The British barrage had accounted for a good many and the remainder were only too glad to give themselves up. The attack swept on and no serious opposition was met with until the line of the track running south from Lemnos House was reached. On the road, which was the line of the first objective, were several piles of stones and these were held by the Germans, in some force. Heavy fire was opened on them and after several of the enemy had been killed, their opposition broke down and the Somerset men again advanced.

The right of the Battalion, together with some men of the 11th Division (on the right of the 1st Somersets), then attacked a concrete block house on the Poelcapelle Road, south of Ferdan House. A German machine-gun was firing from the roof of this house and another from the side of it. A Lewis gun was then brought into action and, under cover of its fire, the attackers worked round a flank and got in rear of the house.

Ten of the garrison of twelve Germans were killed, including three who were bayoneted by Private William Watkins, before the remaining two surrendered and their two machine-guns were captured.


William was promoted to Acting Corporal on 25 November 1917 and to Sergeant on 9 July 1918.

Willy Watkins was sadly Killed in Action eleven days later on 10 August 1918. He was hit by a chance stray shell during a German Attack on Arras. He was then age 47 and one of the oldest DCM recipients of The Great War. His death occurred just 91 days before the end of the war, (The Regimental History, Page 59, refers)

He is buried in the Mont-Bernachon Cemetery, France. His widow Elizabeth, of Gas Lane, St. Philips, Bristol, chose the following epitaph for his gravestone: 'ONE OF THE BEST.'

A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918) A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918) A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918) A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918) Sold with MIC, copied extracts and letter confirming appointments from the Regimental Curator, dated 16 May 1975.

A SUPERLATIVE “HAND TO HAND COMBAT” AWARD OF THE VERY FINEST QUALITY.

FIT FOR INCLUSION IN THE FINEST COLLECTION.


All medals are in EF+ with original silk & cotton ribbons

£2995.00. With part-exchanges welcome.

A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918)

A SUPERB “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle)DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio.Stunning Battle Citation. 3-7312. Pte,Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LT INFANTRY. (KILLED-IN-ACTION 10.8.1918)
£2995

A MAGNIFICENT “ONE MAN ARMY” (Poelcappelle) DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL & 1914-15 Trio With a Stunning Battle Citation. To: 3-7312. Pte - Sgt W.V. WATKINS 1st SOMERSET LIGHT INFANTRY. (Later “KILLED-IN-ACTION” 10th August 1918)