Archived Lot

Date of Auction: 24th June 2009

Sold for £360

Estimate: £280 - £320

A Great War ‘Western Front’ M.M. awarded to Serjeant T. Coleman, Machine Gun Corps, killed in action, Passchendaele, 6 November 1917

Military Medal, G.V.R. (7730 Sjt., 95/Coy. M.G.C.) edge bruising, good fine £280-320

Footnote

M.M. London Gazette 18 July 1917.

M.I.D. London Gazette 25 May 1917.

Thomas Coleman was an Irishman born in Carntree, County Tyrone. In 1914 he was living in Hamilton, Scotland and joined the Army at Holytown, Lanarkshire. His first regiment was the Gordon Highlanders, and he was given the number S/5517. He then transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and was given the number 7730. He landed in France on 9 July 1915 and joined the 95th Machine Gun Company. This was originally the 14th Machine Gun Company part of 32nd Division, but became 95th M.G.C. on 12 January 1916.

In May 1917 Coleman was mentioned in despatches. In the 95th M.G.C. War Diary for 27 May 1917, notification was received that Serjeant Coleman had been awarded the Military Medal. His citation written by Major E .A Hodson, Commanding 95 Machine Gun Company reads as follows –

‘Sgt Coleman showed great coolness and personal courage on April 22nd – 24th under considerable shellfire and hostile activity while in the front line opposite La Coulotte ... in the quarry at ..., April 22nd-24th. Under considerable shell fire and hostile activity, after one attack at 4.45 am on April 23rd, he personally worked his guns & was responsible for obtaining many hits on enemy parties in Coulotte & trenches to W. & N.W. & also for the silencing of hostile machine guns & trench mortars. His conduct has been of the same courageous nature throughout the recent operations’.

On 6 November 1917 Serjeant Coleman was killed in the attack on the Polderhoek Chateau. The 95th M.G.C. War Diary describes the events:

‘The 1st D.C.L.I. with 2 Coy. 1st Devons carried out the attack. Two companies East Surreys in support & 3 companies 12th Glosters in reserve. The objective was the line .... the Chateau down to Reutelbeek about .... with L.G. posts in advance of this line in the vicinity of Chateau. Advance was covered by artillery and machine gun barrage. No 1 Section with 4 guns advanced behind D.C.L.I. The attack on his left side did not succeed owing to the heavy hostile machine gun fire. So two guns had to retire to the original starting point. The attack on the right was successful. The 1st Devons captured the mound on the right of Chateau. 1 gun got into position on this mound, the other gun was destroyed by shell fire when coming forward.’

The diary records that 3 other ranks were killed and 7 wounded in the action; it is believed that Serjeant Coleman was killed in command of the machine gun that was destroyed. He was buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery. With copied research.