Portuguese Expeditionary Corps - Hannibal Milhais

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Portuguese Expeditionary Corps - Aníbal Milhais .... here's the story of a brave man .... RIP

    His story is told on a page for toy soldiers ... how cool that is !!

    Aníbal Augusto Milhais was the most decorated Portuguese soldier in the Great War and still the only one awarded with the highest national honor, the Ordem de Torre e Espada (Order of Tower and Sword for honnor, loyalty and merit) in the battlefield instead of the usual public ceremony in Lisbon.

    Milhais was a farmer born in the small vilage of Valongo in a remote area of Portugal and was drafted in 1917 ..... arriving to France in the same year, as a member of the Trás os Montes brigade from the 2nd Infantry Division from the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps.

    Milhais died in the 80's in the village named after him and a permanent exhibion remembering his achievments can be seen in the Military Museum in the city of Porto.


    He took part in "Operation Geogette"

    April 9 The Battle of La Lys, as it became known in Portugal, or Operation Georgette, or Battle of Estaires to the British, started with a heavy artillery barrage from the Germans, followed by a German offensive with intensive use of lethal gas. The German Sixth Army deployed eight divisions (about 100,000 men), supported by intensive artillery fire. Against this force the Portuguese had 20,000 soldiers and 88 guns. As a result the 2nd Division was annihilated during the battle. The Portuguese CEP lost 327 officers and 7098 soldiers, about 35% of its effective fighting capacity. The survivors were sent to the rear, some of the units being integrated in the British Army later on. During this battle one of the most courageous acts in Portuguese history was perpetrated, as private Aníbal Milhais (a.k.a. "Soldado Milhões" (A Soldier as good as a million others)) defended all alone the retreating allied forces with nothing but his machine gun, allowing them to fall back and regroup. Once he ran out of bullets he escaped the battlefield, after killing a regiment of German soldiers on motorcycles, yet, he got lost along the way, having to eat nothing but sweet-almonds his family had sent him from Portugal for four days. And as if he hadn't been brave enough, this exhausted soldier was able to rescue a Scottish doctor from drowning in a swamp. This doctor led him to the Allied camp and told everyone Milhais' deeds.

    Captain Bento Roma was the commander of a Portuguese infantry company who stopped the Germans for more than 24 hours, blocking one of the attack routes and allowing the Allies to place reinforcements able to hold a secondary line.
  2. And it is why there is a "rue du Colonel Bento Roma" at La Couture and a "Résidence Santarem", the village where he was born...

    Michel... from La Couture...;)

Share This Page