This Day In History

1918 Battle of the Selle. In a carefully-planned attack, rehearsed over 5 days, 5th East Lancashires mount a remarkably successful night assault near Briastre. They move off at 2 a.m., in a heavy downpour which lasted throughout the engagement, to the sound of the Regimental March being played by the battalion band. Met by heavy machine-gun fire and an artillery barrage which causes 50 casualties, they charge through with a yell and are on their final objective well before the 7 a.m. deadline set, taking 300 prisoners in the process. Casualties are 2 officers and 13 men dead, and 6 officers and 109 men wounded. Some 22 German dead were counted on the battalion front. Study of the ground the next day shows that the battalion had gone through no fewer than 6 defensive belts, including a very strongly-held railway embankment, before reaching its final objective. The 300 prisoners were ‘of far better physique and appearance’ than any of the enemy previously encountered, and turn out to be picked troops. They said that they were members of Kaiser Wilhelm’ bodyguard; that they had never before known defeat; and that they had been sent to hold the line at all costs.
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Ratcliffe VC Machine Gun Outing To Memorial Stone Ceremony

On 14 June 2017 Museum Trustees Roger Goodwin, David Rogan and Gareth Wright took the Ratcliffe VC Machine Gun to the ceremony in Liverpool to unveil the memorial pavement to William (Billy) Ratcliffe VC – the Docker VC. It was 100 years to the day since Billy captured the German gun in the action for which he was awarded the VC.  Members of his family were present to see him honoured. It was the first time the Ratcliffe Machine Gun had left the Museum since its arrival over 30 years ago. Pictures by Chris Vere.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool unveils the Ratcliffe Memorial Stone at Liverpool Parish Church

The Ratcliffe Memorial Stone

The Museum’s party with the Ratcliffe Machine Gun

Trustee Roger Goodwin presents the Ratcliffe VC machine gun

 

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