Friday, 28 October 2011

armoured assault troops of the first world war

tHE SOLDIER ABOVE MUST BE THE RAREST IN MY COLLECTION. i FOUND IT IN PRAGUE 20  YEARS AGO, ITS 80MM.At the start of World War I, thousands of the French Cuirassiers rode out to engage the German Cavalry who likewise used helmets and armour. By that period, the shiny armour plate was covered in dark paint and a canvas wrap covered their elaborate Napoleonic style helmets. Their armour was meant to protect only against sabres and light lances. The cavalry had to beware of high velocity rifles and machine guns like the foot soldiers, who at least had a trench to protect them.This soldier is wearing the "Dayfield" Body Armour made by the "Whitfield" Company as worn by Capt Kinred and mentioned below:

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Military Cross on the
undermentioned Officers and Warrant Officers, in recognition of their gallantry and devotion
Temp. Lt. Hugh Cowell Kinred, 14th Bn. Glouc. R."For conspicuous gallantry. When a bomb thrown by the enemy fell at his feet in the trench, he at once threw himself on it, and was blown into the air and much bruised and cut by the explosion, his life being saved by his steel waistcoat. His plucky action saved many casualties."
From St John the Baptist, Frenchay nr Bristol church magazine - September 1916
Captain Hugh Kinred, of 14th Glo'sters ("Bristol Bantams"), who enlisted when curate of this parish, has won the Military Cross. The Daily Mirror of August 22nd gives the following account of his exploit, together with capital photographs of himself and the few poor remnants of his tunic both donned and doffed: "The marvelous escape from death of Capt. H.C. Kinred will probably rank as one of the most remarkable stories of the war. 
While walking along a trench he saw a bomb come over and drop near seven soldiers who were fast asleep. 'In a moment, I saw the danger they were in, and that no time could be lost in picking it up: so I decided to smother it by lying on it. No sooner had I lain on it than it exploded, blowing me from the corner of the trench at an angle of about 30 degrees on to it's top, and I should doubtless have been killed but for the lucky chance that I was wearing a Whitfield steel waistcoat.' The Captain, who was promoted in the field, has been awarded the Military Cross for this act of self-sacrifice, in which he sustained serious wounds.

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