PUBLISHED: 19:28 03 June 2016
Fallen heroes who held off enemy soldiers in World War One have been remembered 98 years on.
Members of the Salcombe Regis community gathered to honour the exploits of the Second Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment in the battle of Bois des Buttes.
Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Anderson Morshead, a Salcombe Regis man, led a charge of 50 men in a stand-off, which ‘saved the day’, to allow Allied troops to regroup and build new defences.
The battle began shortly after 1am on May 27, 1918, when German batteries opened fire with high explosives and gas shells along a 20-mile front of the River Aisne.
The Reverend Robin Laird said: “The Devonshire Regiment was on the shoulder, in a very important position, and they allowed other units to get across the bridge and back across the River Aisne and consolidate positions on the south side.”
“It was under the supervision of Lieutenant Colonel Morshead that they saved the day.”
The serviceman was shot by a sniper at around 9.20am and his body was never found. His family, who lived at Lusways, Salcombe Regis Road, erected a memorial stone to honour him in the churchyard.
During the recent service, a wreath was laid in front on his stone. Mr Laird said the battle ‘decimated’ the regiment but, ultimately, allowed Allied forces to stop German soldiers breaking through towards Paris.”
For their bravery, the regiment received the Croix de Geurre avec Palme from the French Government - the first British unit to be awarded the honour.