DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL, G.V.R. ‘G.11160 A.C.S. MAJ: J. PROOTH. 16/R. FUS:’
D.C.M. London Gazette 22 September 1916
G.11160 Actg. Coy. S./M. J. Prooth
R. Fus. ‘For conspicuous gallantry during a successful raid on the enemy's trenches. Later he assisted the medical officer to carry in the wounded men. He has frequently done fine work.’
M.I.D. London Gazette 15 June 1916
John Prooth, a soldier of Jewish heritage, entered the French theatre of War on 30 July 1915, serving with the 13th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. By June 1916, he was serving as Company Sergeant Major in his Battalion, he was Mentioned in Despatches and further awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his part in two trench raids in June 1916. The June 1916 War Diary for the 13th Battalion, gives details of both the reason for his M.I.D. and his D.C.M.;
His M.I.D. was for a trench raid on 5 June 1916 in which Company Sergeant Major Prooth lead a party of the raider to bomb German dug outs. The raid was not a success because although the raiding party got into position in no mans land, support fire landed amongst the raiders, causing a number of casualties. On the entry for 22 June, Prooth is listed, along with three Officers as having appeared in the latest Gazette, being mentioned.
On 30th June 1916, Company Sergeant Major Prooth took part in another raid. This was one of a number of diversionary raids made by men from 111th Brigade, the night before the 1st July Somme attack. During this raid, which was a success, Prooth lead the 1st Trench Party, consisting of himself, one bomber, three bayonet men and a spare man. Most of the men had taken part in the earlier raid, though leaders (Officers) were changed. On entering the trench, it was noted that Prooth and party advanced about 40/50 yards down it; the going very difficult as the trench seemed little used and bore little resemblance to the aerial photographs of it. Their was lots of concertina wire, sniper boxes and bombs lying around. On coming across a dugout the believed full of men, they threw bombs into it and then retreated under heavy rifle and machine gun fire. Prooth is noted as having brought in a wounded man. This ties in with the recommendation for his D.C.M.
Later promoted Warrant Officer II, given his rank in 1916, its likely he had service prior to the Great War. Details of his D.C.M. recommendation and picture of Prooth are in the ‘British Jewry Book of Honour’.
His medal card for the D.C.M. notes 16th battalion. The 16th is then crossed off and replaced with a 13th, this is almost certainly the reason for the wrong battalion being impressed on the medal. He was additionally entitled to the 1914/15 Star trio.
Condition VF, couple of small ek’s and ‘P’ of surname double stamped. Sold with copies of M.I.C.’s, L.G’s, pages from ‘British Jewry Book of Honour’ and full June 1916 War Diary; all on CD. A very good ‘Somme’ double award.