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Military Cross

Military Cross, 1914 Star, with original clasp, British War & Victory Medal, Temporary Captain Douglas Harrison Layton, 11th (Service) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, the 1st Hull Pals Battalion, formerly with the…

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Military Cross, 1914 Star, with original clasp, British War & Victory Medal, Temporary Captain Douglas Harrison Layton, 11th (Service) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, the 1st Hull Pals Battalion, formerly with the Honourable Artillery Company in France during 1914.


1914 Star impressed: 1663 Pte D.H. Layton. H.A.C.


His Military Cross was announced in the London Gazette on 24th September 1918 with citation:


“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a raid. He led his company with great dash and determination, and when they were being held up on the left platoon, and the platoon officer and serjeant were casualties, he went along the top and rallied the men of the platoon and led them to their objective. The entire success in the final objective was guaranteed by his fine and resolute leadership.”


Some of his exploits are detailed in the book, Hull Pals: 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Battalions East Yorkshire Regiment:


P 169: “Even on Christmas Day the 11th Battalion was not prepared to let the Germans have any peace. Divisional artillery bombarded the German trenches from 4am to 6am with further bursts at 8am, 12pm, 3pm and 5pm. The enemy response was very muted.
Lieutenant Layton took out a strong patrol to try and enter the German trenches. The patrol left the British lines at 6pm and proceeded to the German wire.
The War Diary recorded that:
‘On arriving at the selected point the patrol found certinas and loose wire placed across the gap in the second row of wire, with knife rests behind this obstacle. The patrol were unable to remove this obstacle and returned to our lines at 9.30pm, having suffered no casualties.”


The War Diary also records a raid on 23rd December 1916:


“A quiet day, rain continued to fall. Lieutenant Layton’s enterprise party attempted to raid the German Lines at K II.a. 4.0.10 & K II a 3.2.35
Arrangements were made with the artillery for them to fire the usual three bursts which they had been doing during the last month. Between the 2nd and 3rd bursts of fire, the raiding party assembled in “No Mans Land.” Zero hour was 11pm the 3rd burst of fire was at 11pm which was the signal for the raiding party to enter the German Trenches. Both parties on arriving at the gaps in the German wire which the artillery had cut found knife rests placed in the 3rd row of wire about 10 yds from the parapet. The parties remained for 1 1/4 hours trying to remove the obstacles but without any results. The parties returned to our lines at 12.30am without having suffered any casualty.


Douglas Harrison Layton was born during 1886 in Staines, Middlesex, the son of Leonard A. Layton and Mary A. Layton, his father was a Hotel Proprietor.


He Graduated from Downing College, University of Cambridge in 1907.
Following his education he became a Civil Engineer and spent some time in Canada before the war.


Shortly after the outbreak of WW1, he was living at “Fairfield”, Norwood Road in West Norwood, when he enlisted as a Private in the Honourable Artillery Company on 26th August 1914, after what must have been a very short period of training he was sent overseas on 18th September 1914 with 1st Battalion, 4 Company, Honourable Artillery Company.


On 19th January 1915 he was granted a Commission as 2nd Lieutenant and joined the 2nd East Yorks.


The Sheffield Daily Telegraph 16th November 1916 reports his promotion to Acting Captain:


“East Yorks – Second-Lieutenant D.H. Layton (East Yorks) to be acting Captain commanding a company.”


The award of his Military Cross was first announced, likely from a letter sent home in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 20th July 1918:
“Capt D.H. Layton, son or Mrs Layton of the Royal Hotel, Teignmouth, has been awarded the Military Cross.”


London Gazette 3rd January 1920:
“E. York R. – Temp Lt D.H. Layton, M.C., Serv Bn, relinquishes the actg rank of Capt, 15th November 1919”


After the war he went to Sierra Leone as an Engineer during 1928


He died at the age of 75 during 1960 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.