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A Great War 1915 ‘Battle of Neuve Chapelle’ D.C.M. group of four awarded to Private S. C. Climpson, 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, whose actions at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle on 10-12 March 1915 are vividly portrayed and described in Deeds that Thrill the Empire
Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. officially named to: 9359 Pte. S. C. Climpson. 2/North: Regt.

1914 Star, with clasp officially named to: 9359 Pte. S. C. Climpson. 2/North’n R.

British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves officially named to: 9359 Pte. S. C. Climpson. North’n. R.

Nearly very fine.

Provenance: Dix Noonan Webb, March 2007.
D.C.M. London Gazette 23 June 1915; citation published 30 June 1915:
‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Neuve Chapelle on 10 March 1915. When communication was rendered impossible owing to damage to cable by shell and rifle fire, he in company with another man, repeatedly endeavoured to repair the line, and on failing to do so they brought back an important message from the trenches under heavy shell and machine-gun fire’.
Stanton Charles Climpson attested for the Northamptonshire Regiment and served with the 2nd Battalion during the Great War on the Western Front from 8 November 1914. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallantry at Neuve Chapelle on 10 March 1915- his and Private Luddington’s actions that day are vividly portrayed and described in a lengthy account in Deeds that Thrill the Empire:
‘In the forenoon of 10 March 1915 - the first day of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle - the 24th Brigade, composed of the 1st Worcesters 2nd East Lancashires, 1st Sherwood Foresters, and 2nd Northamptons, which attacked on our left flank from the direction of the Neuve Chapelle-Armentières highway, fought their way to the north-east of the village, and towards 4:00 p.m. it began moving southwards towards the Aubers ride, by way of the hamlet of Pietre. Two privates of the Northamptons, Climpson and Luddington, were detailed to maintain communication with Brigade Headquarters, and were to lay out wire as the troops advanced, and to keep in touch with the commanding officer, in case of anything being required from Headquarters. They soon found that, laden as they were with coils of wire, it was very difficult to keep up with their battalion, and, when darkness fell, they lost touch with it altogether for some considerable time. They continued, however, to advance, laying out wire as they went, though they had only a very vague notion as to the direction they were taking. They passed several regiments and inquired of each of them the whereabouts of the Northamptons, but could get no definite information. Finally, in the dark, they overran the line along which our troops were entrenching themselves, and would have walked into the midst of the Germans, had not an officer caught sight of them and called them back.
Returning to where our men were digging themselves in, they got under cover, fixed up their telephone, and established communication with Brigade Headquarters. It was only, however, maintained for about half an hour, the wire being broken by the spades of the men digging trenches, who could not see it in the dark. Climpson and his comrade went out to try and repair it but were unable to trace the ends, and were therefore obliged to make their way back to Brigade Headquarters and lay a fresh wire. The second one remained intact for about three hours, and when it was broken they were fortunately able to find and repair the break and to re-establish the communication.
Some two hours later, that is to say at 6:30 a.m., it was broken again and, as it was almost daylight, any attempt to repair it would have meant almost certain death, they lay low until dusk and then ventured forth again. Once more they were unable to trace the ends, and consequently had to make another journey to Brigade Headquarters and lay a fresh one. This third wire was broken and repaired twice during the night, but was luckily in working order when, at about 5:30 a.m. on the morning of 12 March, the enemy, reinforced by the Bavarian and Saxon reserves, counter-attacked in determined fashion all along our front. The Northamptons were hard put to hold their guard, while their ammunition began to give out, and the telephone operators received orders to send the S.O.S. for reinforcements and ammunition. Scarcely had they despatched it, when the line was broken, and as, since it was now daylight, they could not repair it, they lay down to take what rest they could amid the roar of the battle. About 9:00 a.m. however, the adjutant of their battalion came up and inquired whether the line was working, and when told that it was not, asked them to take an urgent message back to Brigade Headquarters, which it was of the utmost importance should be delivered before 10:00 a.m.
About 100 yards behind our trenches was a deep ditch and, with rifle and machine-gun bullets whistling past their heads, Climpson and Luddington spurted across the open and jumped into it, and into about five feet of water as well. Once in the ditch, however, they were comparatively safe, and making their way along it for about nine hundred yards, they found themselves in an old German communication trench, which was as full of water as the ditch. Another three hundred yards of walking - or rather of wading - brought them to the road running between Neuve Chapelle and Armentières. This, with the exception of the sprint from the trenches to the ditch, was the most dangerous part of their journey, since the road, which afforded but very little cover, was being heavily shelled, and for nearly half a mile they had to make their way along it with shrapnel bursting all about them. At length, with five minutes to spare, they reached their destination, soaked to the skin and so utterly exhausted that, as soon as they had delivered their message, they lay down and fell asleep’.
Both Climpson and Luddington were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Climpson was later transferred to the Royal Engineers and was subsequently awarded the Silver War Badge.
Sold with copied extracts from Deeds that Thrill the Empire and copied research.

Product Code: EM3301

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