Personal info

  • Name: Martin DOYLE
  • D.O.B: 25th October, 1894
  • D.O.A: 2nd September, 1918
  • D.O.D: 20th November, 1940
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Company Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion The Royal Munster Fusiliers
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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The Drocourt-Quéant Line, France 2-4 September 1918

2-4 September 1918

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The First World War 1918 

On 2 September 1918 the Allies attacked and broke through the Drocourt-Quéant Line, the German defensive position east of Arras stretching from Drocourt, just south-east of Lens, in the north, to Quéant, north-east of Bapaume and west of Cambrai, in the south. 11th Division of XXII Corps was south of the River Scarpe and moved south-eastwards from near Hamblain-les-Prés. It was in a reconnaissance across the River Cojeul, southwest of Étaing, during which a German machine-gun post was also knocked-out, that Lance Sergeant A W Evans, 6th Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment, distinguished himself. On 11th Division’s flank to the south, 4th Canadian Division advanced north of the Arras to Cambrai road and 75th Battalion 1st Central Ontario Regiment and 87th Battalion Quebec Regiment took part in the attack on German positions near Dury. Captain B S Hutcheson, Canadian Army Medical Corps, attached to 75th Battalion, and Private J F Young, 87th Battalion, a stretcher-bearer, showed conspicuous bravery under fire in this sector. 1st Canadian Division advanced south of the Arras to Cambrai road. 10th Battalion Alberta Regiment captured Villers-lès-Cagnicourt, just south of the road. Sergeant A G Knight exhibited great gallantry during this action. 16th Battalion The Manitoba Regiment met heavy machine-gun fire near Cagnicourt, just to the south, and Lieutenant Colonel C W Peck distinguished himself by his steadfastness in overcoming this resistance. Lance Corporal W H Metcalf, of the same battalion, led a tank to attack the enemy during this action. Private W L Rayfield, 7th Battalion The British Columbia Regiment, also showed conspicuous bravery in the fighting near Cagnicourt. To the south of the Canadians, XVII Corps manned the line. 1st Battalion The Royal Munster Fusiliers took part in the advance east of Riencourt-lès-Cagnicourt. It was in the fighting here that Company Sergeant Major M Doyle distinguished himself by his gallantry. South-east of Riencourt and Quéant, 63rd Royal Naval Division pushed forwards and Commander D M W Beak (see 21-25 August 1918 above) and Chief Petty Officer G Prowse were awarded the VC for their part in the fighting at Pronville.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery on the 2nd September, 1918, near Riencourt, when as Acting Company Serjeant-Major, command of the company devolved upon him consequent on officer casualties. Observing that some of our men were surrounded by the enemy, he led a party to their assistance, and by skill and leadership worked his way along the trenches, killed several of the enemy and extricated the party, carrying back, under heavy fire, a wounded officer to a place of safety. Later, seeing a Tank in difficulties, he rushed forward under intense fire, routed the enemy who were attempting to get into it, and prevented the advance of another enemy party collecting for a further attack on the Tank. An enemy machine gun now opened on the Tank at close range, rendering it impossible to get the wounded away, whereupon C.S.M. Doyle, with great gallantry, rushed forward, and, single-handed, silenced the machine gun, capturing it with three prisoners. He then carried a wounded man to safety under very heavy fire. Later in the day, when the enemy counter-attacked his position, he showed great power of command, driving back the enemy and capturing many prisoners. Throughout the whole of these operations C.S.M. Doyle set the very highest example to all ranks by his courage and total disregard of danger. 

Eighth Supplement to The London Gazette of 28 January 1919. 31 January 1919, Numb. 31155, p. 1504

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