Personal info

  • Name: Thomas James HARRIS
  • D.O.B: 30th January, 1892
  • D.O.A: 9th August, 1918
  • D.O.D: 9th August, 1918
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Sergeant, 6th Battalion The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), 37th Brigade, 12th Division
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Battle of Amiens (second day), France 9 August 1918

9 August 1918

More details about:
The First World War 1918 

On 9 August 1918, the second day of the Battle of Amiens, the Allies continued their successful advance eastwards. III Corps was deployed between the Ancre and the Somme; from here the Australian Corps manned the line south to the Amiens-Chaulnes railway, where they handed over to the Canadians, who were responsible for the sector running south to the Amiens-Noyon road, where they met up with the French. 37th Brigade, 12th Division, was at the north of the line, just south of the Ancre. In the fighting on the 9th they attacked Morlancourt and moved east towards the old Outer Amiens Defence Line. It was for his gallantry in the attack on Morlancourt that Sergeant T J Harris, 6th Battalion Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), was awarded a posthumous VC. Meanwhile, south of the Somme, beyond the Amiens-St Quentin road, as part of the Australian Imperial Force, 8th Battalion (Victoria) was involved in the advance towards Lihons. North of Rosières-en- Santerre, Private R M Beatham, with the assistance of Lance Corporal Nottingham, attacked and captured four enemy machine-guns. He was killed when bombing a further machinegun. Further south still, the Canadian Corps also made significant gains. South of Vrély, Canadian troops of 2nd Brigade took part in the capture of Warvillers, where Sergeant R L Zengel, 5th Battalion The Saskatchewan Regiment, and Acting Corporal A P Brereton and Corporal F G Coppins, 8th Battalion The Manitoba Regiment, distinguished themselves in the capture of machine-gun positions, Zengel south-west of the village, and Brereton and Coppins at Hatchet Wood to the north.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in attack when the advance was much impeded by hostile machine guns concealed in crops and shell-holes. Sjt. Harris led his section against one of these, capturing it and killing seven of the enemy. Later, on two successive occasions, he attacked single-handed two enemy machine-guns which were causing heavy casualties and holding up the advance. He captured the first gun and killed the crew, but was himself killed when attacking the second one. It was largely due to the great courage and initiative of this gallant N.C.O. that the advance of the battalion was continued without delay and undue casualties. Throughout the operations he showed a total disregard for his own personal safety, and set a magnificent example to all ranks. 

Ninth Supplement to The London Gazette of 18 October 1918. 22 October 1918, Numb. 30967, p. 12487

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