Personal info

  • Name: Alexander Picton BRERETON
  • D.O.B: 13th November, 1892
  • D.O.A: 9th August, 1918
  • D.O.D: 11th June, 1976
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Acting Corporal, 8th Battalion The Manitoba Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Battle of Amiens (second day), France 9 August 1918

9 August 1918

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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 during an attack, when a line of hostile machine guns opened fire suddenly on his platoon, which was in an exposed position, and no cover available. This gallant N.C.O. at once appreciated the critical situation and realised that unless something was done at once the platoon would be annihilated. On his own initiative, and without a moment’s delay, and alone, he sprang forward and reached one of the hostile machine-gun posts, where he shot the man operating the gun and bayonetted the next one who tried to operate it, whereupon nine others surrendered to him. Cpl. Brereton’s action was a splendid example of resource and bravery, and not only undoubtedly saved many of his comrades’ lives, but also inspired his platoon to charge and capture the five remaining posts. 

Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette of 24 September 1918. 27 September 1918, Numb. 30922, p. 11430

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