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Edward Bone’s DCM

David Hopkins gave this account of the battle in which Edward Bone won his DCM to the History Group on December 16th 2014.

Edward Bone won the Distnguished Conduct Medal on this day, in Geluwe, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He was promoted to Lance Corporal and survived the remaining six weeks until the Armistice. The son of Benjamin Bone and Sarah Knight, he was born on 01 Mar 1891 in East Worldham, Hampshire. He met Alice May Richards in East Liss and married her. They moved to East Meon after the war.

Edward Bone served in the 2nd Battalion of the Hampshires. Just six weeks before Armistice, he and his platoon commander played a vital part in unblocking fierce German resistance to the Allied advance.

From their start lines at Ypres. the Allies had rapidly advanced south-east along the Menin Road. The 2nd Battalion had leapfrogged engaged units, diverting to the west of Gheluwe and was held up there by heavy fire from entrenched positions. Two platoons infiltrated the town by following a small stream to the northwest of the town, and emerged in the cemetery on the other side, to be pinned down by German machine guns. Heroically, Bone and his platoon commander stormed the machine guns and captured them, taking 27 prisoners. When a strong German counter attack developed from the east of the cemetery, they repelled it with covering fire whilst their platoon withdrew, with wounded and prisoners, to the south, through the streets of Gheluwe, to re-join their battalion.

A week later, in France, the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regt, Col H.P.Westmorland, , wrote his account of their action in his War Diary, replicated in Appendix 3: “Two platoons of X company, under the personal command of Lieutenant G.H.Brown, worked down the banks of the Reutelbeek and succeeded in reaching the Cemetery on the east side of the village. Here they were held up after sustaining heavy casualties until two machine guns that were holding them up on the right, were rushed, with great gallantry, by two men of the leading platoon, resulting in the surrender of 27 of the enemy. The locks of the machine guns were removed and the two men withdrew with their prisoners.”

Both the men were promoted, Lieutenant Brown to Acting Captain, Private Bone to Lance Corporal, and both awarded medals, Brown the Military Cross and Bone the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Edward Bone came to live in the parish of East Meon after the war, to work at Leydene House. With his wife Alice, he lived first in Coombe Bottom and then at Hambledon Lodge at Leydene Edward Bone came to live in the parish of East Meon after the war, to work at Leydene House. With his wife Alice, he lived first in Coombe Bottom and then at Hambledon Lodge at Leydene.

Click here for Family records of Edward Bone