Rifle Brigade - Harry M. Daniels VC

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Harry M. Daniels .... Birth - Dec. 13 1884 ..... Death - Dec. 13 1953

    A native of Wymondham, Norfolk, Daniels’s parents had died by the time he was six, so he was brought up in the care of the Norwich Board of Guardians. He was apprenticed to a carpenter when he learned that an elder brother had been killed at Magersfontein in South Africa during the First Anglo-Boer War (1899).

    When Daniels turned 18, he, too, joined up, enlisting in The Rifle Brigade. While serving in India Daniels won the regimental lightweight and welterweight boxing championships and was considered a star of the battalion’s dramatic club.

    CSM Daniels was awarded the V.C. (along with his good friend Corp. Cecil Reginald Noble) for action at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, March 12, 1915. Daniels and Noble’s company faced strings of uncut and unbroken enemy wire, but rather than assigning a detail to perform what was likely to be a suicidal mission, Daniels and Noble took the job themselves.

    From their joint citation: "For most conspicuous bravery on 12th March, 1915, at Neuve Chapelle, when their battalion was impeded in the advance to attack by wire entanglements, and subjected to a very severe machine-gun fire, these two men voluntarily rushed in front and succeeded in cutting the wires." They had succeeded in cutting the lower strands of wire when Daniels was wounded in the leg. A few minutes later Noble was hit in the chest; Daniels moved him to a shell hole and applied first aid, staying with him until help arrived. Noble died of wounds the next day.

    Daniels was commissioned in July 1915, served with the British Military Mission to the U.S. in 1918, boxed for the U.K. in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, was promoted to Captain in 1921, retired from the Army in 1930 with the rank of Brevet-Major, spent the next few years managing hotels, rejoined the Army in 1933, was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1934 and retired from the Army for good in 1942. He spent the next eleven years as manager of the Grand Theatre in Leeds.

    At Daniels’s funeral following his death (on his 69th birthday) from heart failure at Arthington Hospital, Leeds, the mourners included a number of figures from his theatre days as well as his military service. His medals are on display at the Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester, Hampshire.

    Burial - Lawnswood Cemetery Leeds, England

  2. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    CSM Harry Daniels was born on the 13th December 1884 at Wymondham in Norfolk, the 13th child in a family of 16 children. His mother died when he was four years old and his father died shortly afterwards, leaving six children under the age of 14. Harry was placed in a boy's home in Norwich, but ran away, living on turnips for two days on the first occasion and being absent for two months on the second while working as a cabin boy on a fishing smack. He was then apprenticed as a carpenter, but on hearing of the death of his eldest brother at Magersfontain while serving with the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards during the second South African (Boer) War, he decided, without telling anyone, that he would join the Army. On 31st January 1903 he enlisted in The Rifle Brigade and accompanied 2RB to India in 1905, where he earned a fine reputation as a boxer and a participant in amateur dramatics. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1910 and to Company Quartermaster Sergeant on 10th October 1914 In November 1914 he accompanied 2RB, who had just returned from India, to France and became a CSM on 12th December.
    After the action at Neuve Chapelle and his wounding in winning the Victoria Cross (see Noble thread), CSM Daniels was feted in Norwich and presented with a purse of gold by the Sheriff. On 21st July 1915 he was granted a commission in The Rifle Brigade. In September 1915 the Lord Mayor of Norwich received a telegram stating that Daniels had been killed in action. Regulation field cards stating that Daniels received by Daniels relatives disproved this information and on 1st October 1915 a contradiction of his reported death was issued by the Press Association.
    On 30th March 1916 Daniels was awarded the Military Cross for an act of bravery on 2nd March at Fromelles. The citation reads: "When a man of his patrolwas wounded on the edge of the enemy's wire, he carried him in some 300 yards under very heavy fire. On another occasion, when two successive patrols had failed to find a wounded Corporal, 2nd Lieutenant Daniels volunteered to take out a third patrol, and brought in the Corporal's body." He was twice mentioned in despatches.
    In 1917 Lieutenant Daniels returned to England and in 1918 he became a member of the British Military Mission to the USA. In 1920 he boxed for Great Britain in the Olympic Games at Antwerp. On the 9th April 1921 he transferred to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment as a Captain, retiring as Brevet-Major in 1930. He then became a Hotel manager before rejoing the Army as a recruiting officer in December 1933. He was promoted Lieutenant - Colonel in 1934, remaining a recruiting officer in the North of England until retiring for a second time in 1942. He then took up a post of resident manager of the Leeds Grand Theatre, where he was very popular with artisites, the staff and public alike. Invited to attend the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Daniels suffered a heart attack in London shortly before the event. He died later that year in a Leeds hospital on 13th December 1953, his 69th birthday. His wife, whom he had married at Calcutta in January 1914, predeceased him in 1949.

    Quite a remarkable man.

  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    What a life he had !!! ........... Remarkable indeed !!

    Thanks Andy !

    Annie :)

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