Personal info

  • Name: Cyril Hubert FRISBY
  • D.O.B: 17th September, 1885
  • D.O.A: 27th September, 1918
  • D.O.D: 10th September, 1961
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Acting Captain, Special Reserve, attached 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, Guards Division
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Battle of the Canal du Nord, France 27 September 1918

27 September 1918

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The First World War 1918 

Towards the end of September 1918, during the offensive against the Hindenburg Line, British positions west of Cambrai ran southwards along the west bank of the unfinished and partly waterless Canal du Nord through Moeuvres, traversing it, as had the Hindenburg Line, east of Demicourt and proceeded on to Havrincourt. In the Allied advance on 27 September 1918, the 1st and 4th Canadian Divisions were in the line north of Moeuvres. Crossing the Canal, they captured sections of the Marquion Line and moved against Bourlon Wood, the scene of heavy fighting the previous year. Lieutenant G F Kerr, 3rd Battalion 1st Central Ontario Regiment, distinguished himself by attacking a German position north of Bourlon Wood, near the Arras to Cambrai road. The 4th Division, which was to the south of the 1st, was involved in heavy fighting round Bourlon Wood. It was here that Lieutenants S L Honey and G T Lyall showed conspicuous bravery. In the following days 4th Division pressed on north-east and Honey’s Citation refers to his further gallantry on the 29th, while Lyall distinguished himself again on 1 October near Blécourt, just north of Cambrai. South of Moeuvres, the Guards Division was detailed to capture the high ground between Graincourt and Flesquières as far as Premy Chapel north-west of Marcoing. During the crossing of the Canal Acting Captain C H Frisby, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, led an attack on a German position under a ruined bridge, which was holding up the advance. In this he was assisted by Lance-Corporal T N Jackson, who was, however, killed almost immediately. Meanwhile, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards advanced to cross the Canal du Nord east of Demicourt, heading north of Flesquières. However, Graincourt to the north and Orival Wood to the north-east were still in German hands, as were Beet Trench and a beet factory. Acting Lieutenant Colonel Viscount Gort, commanding 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, attacked these two positions. He then personally led a tank towards the enemy, as his men made for Premy. Though wounded, he refused to leave the field until they had reached its outskirts. To the south of the Guards Division was 3rd Division which included 8th Battalion The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment which advanced on Flesquières, east of the Canal du Nord. There had been bitter fighting here in November 1917 but the Germans had retaken it in their Spring offensive. It was now recaptured by the British and Corporal T Neely distinguished himself by his gallantry during this action. By nightfall the British had advanced in places over four miles.

Citation

 For conspicuous bravery, leadership and devotion to duty in action on the 27th September, 1918, across the Canal Du Nord, near Graincourt, when in command of a company detailed to capture the Canal crossing on the Demicourt-Graincourt road. On reaching the Canal the leading platoon came under annihilating machine-gun fire from a strong machine-gun post under the old iron bridge on the far side of the Canal, and was unable to advance, despite reinforcing waves. Capt. Frisby realised at once that unless this post was captured the whole advance in this area would fail. Calling for volunteers to follow him, he dashed forward, and, with three other ranks, he climbed down into the Canal under an intense point-blank machinegun fire and succeeded in capturing the post with two machine guns and twelve men. By his personal valour and initiative he restored the situation and enabled the attacking companies to continue the advance. Having reached and consolidated his objective, he gave timely support to the company on his right, which had lost all its officers and sergeants, organised its defences, and beat off a heavy hostile counter-attack. He was wounded in the leg by a bayonet in the attack on the machine-gun post, but remained at duty throughout, thereby setting a splendid example to all ranks. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 26 November 1918. 27 November 1918, Numb. 31034, pp. 14039-40

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