QSA (2 Clasps), 1914-15 Star, British War, Victory and LS&GC Medal Group of Five - Captain (Quartermaster) R.H. Paul, King's Royal Rifle Corps
- Product Code: MM-4805
- Regiment: King's Royal Rifle Corps Availability: Out of Stock
war and first world war long service medal group of five awarded
to Captain (Quartermaster) Robert Henry Paul, King’s Royal Rifle Corps,
Sergeant Major of the 7th (Service) Battalion during the war’s first notable
use of “liquid fire” (flamethrowers) at Hooge on 30 July 1915.
Queen's South Africa
Medal (2 Clasps - Orange Free State, South Africa 1902) named to 8098
Clr:- Serjt: H. Paul. K.R.R.C.
1914-15 Star named to A-1188 S. Mjr. R.H. Paul. K.R. Rif: C.
British War Medal named to Q.M. & Lieut. R.H. Paul.
WW1 Victory Medal named to Q.M. & Lieut. R.H. Paul.
George V Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal named to 8089 C. Sjt. R.H. Paul. K.R.R.C.
The medals are in good condition and are swing mounted for wear.
Robert Henry ‘Harry’ Paul was born at South Mimms, Barnet, Hertfordshire on 21 September 1869 and enlisted as a regular soldier in the 4th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps on 10 June 1893. He was promoted Lance Corporal 5 December 1893, Corporal 19 March 1895, Lance Sergeant 15 June 1897, Sergeant 12 August 1899, and Colour Sergeant 1 May 1901. He received his 1st class certificate of education on 27 October 1896, qualified as an instructor in military engineering on 9 June 1897, and graduated from the Army School of Musketry (Hythe) on 10 March 1905.
Paul departed for South Africa on 11 December 1901 and served during the last few months of the Boer War. His Queen’s South Africa Medal for this service is named to “H. Paul” despite his given name of Robert. Yet regimental sources refer to him as ‘Harry’ and, indeed, he appears as ‘H. Paul’ on the roll, explaining his QSA naming. He remained in South Africa until 1904. Recommended for the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal on 1 July 1911, Paul was discharged from the Army on 9 June 1913 after 20 years of service.
Re-engaged for World War I on 23 August 1914, the 44 year-old Paul was posted as a Rifleman in the 7th (Service) Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps (7/KRRC), promoted Company Sergeant Major on 1 September 1914 and Sergeant Major on 4 January 1915. The battalion departed for France on 18 May 1915 and incurred its first casualties in the trenches before the end of the month.
The 7/KRRC suffered their heaviest casualties at Hooge on 30 July 1915 during the first use of flamethrowers against British troops. The 8th Rifle Brigade (8/RB) formed a line running west-toeast; the 7/KRRC were south of them on their right at about a 100 degree angle, running approximately north-to-south, the two battalions forming a salient into the German position.
The German attack started at 3:15 AM. The flamethrowers initially concentrated on the center of the 8/RB, with the 7/KRRC coming under artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire. The flamethrowers quickly overwhelmed the 8/RB, who were forced to withdraw, leaving the 7/KRRC vulnerable on three sides. Thus exposed, the 7/KRRC were forced out of their left trenches. They mounted a counterattack, which briefly succeeded in recovering some of the lost trenches, but these small gains were again surrendered as reports came in of most officers involved in this counterattack being killed or wounded along with many among the ranks. A larger counterattack including the 8/KRRC was mounted in the afternoon but this only resulted in additional casualties while gaining no ground. That evening, the battalion was ordered to abandon some of the trenches they had fought so valiantly to defend, these considered to be no longer tenable.
Losses were severe, with the battalion’s War Diary reporting 41 killed, 191 wounded, and 70 missing, although casualty lists were incomplete owing to those killed or wounded beyond reach. The 8/RB’s losses were tragic, with 488 out of 788 officers and men killed, wounded, or missing. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records 173 8/RB and 114 7/KRRC killed. That day’s 7/KRRC War Diary notes “the chief features of the day were (1) the first use of liquid fire against British troops.”
At the end of October 1915, the War Diary recorded “The total casualties of the battalion, excluding sick, to 31.10.15 from date of landing, 19.5.15, were 26 officers 662 O.R.” This out of an average strength of 25 officers and 867 other ranks, a casualty rate of 77% in only five months of war.
After being sent home for training from 25 April to 7 June 1916 and then rejoining his battalion, Paul was commissioned Temporary Lieutenant (Quartermaster) in the 12th (Labour) Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment on 25 June 1916. Formed in Freshwater in June 1916, the 12th moved to France in August 1916, becoming the 162nd and 163rd Labour Companies in the Labour Corps in April 1917. Paul’s health declined in 1918, being classified as medically unfit several times. Consequently, he spent the last few months of the war assigned to various Prisoner of War camps in England.
Paul was promoted Temporary Captain on 28 June 1919 and discharged on 1 September 1921. He married Jane Hewitson on 17 December 1900. They did not have any children. He later worked as a Clerk at the Ministry Of Pensions and died in 1946.
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