Wittersham in Kent Village Guide

Wittersham / Tenterden

Dec 1916. Newspapers not identified.
The Distinguished Service Order has been conferred upon Captain John Body, Territorial Buffs, of Wittersham …

Captain J. Body, of Tenterden, has been appointed an Acting Lieutenant-Colonel, while commanding a Territorial Battalion of the Buffs. He was recently awarded the D.S.O. for his services in Mesopotamia.

Wittersham has much cause for congratulation in the honour which we are sure has been well earned by its heroic son, Captain John Body of the Buffs (Territorial Battalion). He has had conferred upon him the Distinguishes Service Order for services in the operations in Mesopotamia.
We are pleased to record that Captain T.M. Body of the RAMC is among the number saved in the recent torpedo attack on the ship “Minnesota” In Mesopotamia. It appears that she was torpedoed in the neighbourhood of Crete, and although it was a sudden attack, yet there at once gathered around her a vast number of trawlers and other craft, and the whole of the troops on board (1,700) were saved. It is remarkable that whilst the enemy, it must be admitted, has been very successful in submarine warfare, that in comparison to the great number of ships, with large bodies of men on them, there have been few lives lost. We have not yet, to all appearances, succeeded in counteracting the enemy submarine enterprise. No doubt, later on, we shall be found adopting methods which might have been employed at the earliest stages of the enemy’s dastardly attacks.

Captain J. Body, the Buffs, who has been granted the D.S.O. in connection with the operations in Mesopotamia, is the elder son of the late Mr, John Body, J.P. of Wittersham, and of Mrs. Body, who still resides at that place. He was educated at Tonbridge School, where he distinguished himself in the cricket field. He was for some years in the Weald of Kent Volunteers, from which he retired, but on Captain Munn Mace being appointed lieutenant-colonel of the battalion he rejoined the corps and became captain of the Tenterden Company. He went to Mesopotamia with the battalion in November 1915, and took part in the sever fighting in which the regiment had many casualties. Another son of Mrs. Body, Dr. T.M. Body, joined the RAMC and was sent to Amara, where the two brothers met. Dr. Body returned home recently. The ship in which he made the voyage was torpedoed, but happily all on board were saved.
Jan 1917
WAR HOSPITAL SUPPLY DEPOT – The following letter from Lieut, W.H. Marshall, 1/5th Buffs, written on January 10th 1917, has been received by the Secretary – “So many thanks for another generous package of comforts. The bandages as usual are most acceptable, and well repay the loving care spent on rolling them. We are now pretty well off for Oxo cubes, though the last have proved very welcome. What we want now is Horlick’s milk, either In tablet or powder form. This acts as food for any man who is a bit off colour. Nestle’s condensed milk is very valuable too. You may be interested to hear what the battalion is doing. We are in a regular warren of trenches, and are slowly pushing the Turks back on Kut. Every night a party goes out and digs a bit further, or consolidates a bit of ground taken by day, under cover of a terrific bombardment by our guns. The men feel the cold by night, but are a cheery as possible in spite of the cold and fatigue. Col. Body looks after every detail as usual, there never was such a C.O. We are awfully lucky in our Brigadier too, General Thompson, who is always round the lines, and always ready to send congratulations and thanks in his own writing to a subaltern who does a bit of good work. The men would go anywhere for such leaders.”

“The 5th Buffs have had their baptism of fire and have gained great praise from all, but at a very heavy cost. I am not allowed to tell you much, but no doubt you will have seen the casualty list before you get this. Fraser, Cheesman, Adam, Peters, Macfadyen, Walker, Collingridge, Leaf and self were the only officers not hit. Poor Hugh Marchant, Guy Baker and Rothwell were killed, Buss and Goshen cannot recover, all the others were slightly wounded. [Then there is something about the casualties among the men which has all been crossed out in blue pencil, and all I can see is ‘slight; wounded – this added by Mabel]. It was a terrific battle and the 5th Buffs have made a great name for themselves out here. I am very proud of them, they were splendid and fought like lions. The General addressed us yesterday and thanked us all for all we had done. I am very fit, we hear no new and I am longing to get another letter from you.”

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