Distinguished Conduct Medal, GV, Military Medal, GV, 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medal, 17675 Private William Heys, 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment.
Military Medal and DCM named to the 2nd Battalion South Lancs Regiment, with the M.M. spelling his name as “Heyes” the others read “Heys”.
Polishing to obverse of gallantry awards through proud wear over the years.
D.C.M. awarded in the London Gazette 20th October 1916:
“For conspicuous gallantry during operations. Though himself wounded he tended 6 other men who had been wounded by the same shell. On another occasion he tended wounded in ‘No Man’s Land’ under heavy fire, and carried them to safety.”
The annotated roll of the DCM states that the first action occurred at Thiepval on 25th August 1916 and the second action was on 3rd September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.
The War Diary of 25th August, when on a special work party which records the wounded men he saved:
“Frequent heavy showers, disposition unchanged. Battalion still in Aveluy Wood.
Working party of 4 officers and 200 other ranks proceeded to the front lines about 8pm to carry out special work but were unable to continue and withdrew about midnight.
Casualties – 1 man missing, 6 wounded, there was considerable activity in this sector during the night, enemy were using a considerable amount of rifle grenades.”
The war diary of the day for 3rd September 1916 when he went out into No Man’s Land to save wounded men during a trench assault paints a hellish picture of the events:
“Artillery barrage in progress from 5.10 am to 5.20 am, during which companies moved forward in open order in frontage of one company, about 15 yards between companies, and made an assault of objective mentioned yesterday.
Enemy artillery fire was particularly heavy, a few men penetrated enemy’s trench but it was impossible to effect a logement, several attempts were made, the men being rallied by the few officers left and companies returned to our original line about 6.a.m.
It was noted that the enemy trenches which were very battered, were very thinly held, we were able to secure only one prisoner, Enemy Artillery fire directed on to their own trenches as well as ours was exceptionally heavy.
Our trenches were practically obliterated and the position most difficult, all ranks were in a very exhausted and distressed condition in consequence of the experiences of the past few days.
During the attacks the following casualties:
Lieut Col Cotton DSO – Missing, Major Maxwell DSO, Wounded, 2nd Lieut Ireland Blackburne, Ash-Moody, Harrison, Neville all Wounded, Capt Kew, wounded.
Other ranks: 9 Killed, 91 wounded and 23 missing.”