Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Hyde D.C.M.

Hyde D.C.M.’s
Investiture by the King


Two Hyde men, who both gained the Distinguished Conduct Medal, attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace. They are Sergeant Harold Smith, 2 Great Norbury Street, Hyde and W/O Stanley Howe, 56 Edna Street, Hyde.
Sergeant Smith’s award was for his fine work in defending his position from sharp attack by the enemies armoured cars during the Italian campaign. Towards the end of the engagement, an anti-personnel bomb exploded by the Sergeant’s gun pit wounding two of his gunners, and very seriously wounding himself in the chest. Despite the fact he was already in great pain and could only talk and breathe with difficulty, Sergeant Smith continued to maintain complete control of his detachment.
Presently he started towards the gun position nearest his own, to obtain help, and find out about the ammunition situation, which as far as he knew, was not re-assuring. However, the heavy smoke from two burning haystacks nearby, and the smell of the cordite overpowered him, and he collapsed before reaching his objective. Fortunately he was speedily found, and taken to the nearest casualty clearing station. Throughout the action he thought only of his duty, and his detachment, he conducted himself in a manner which was inspiring by its selflessness and heroism.
Sergeant Smith served with the Royal Artillery for 13 years. He was demobilised, and found employment at Redfern’s Rubber Works. Hyde.

Son of Last War D.C.M.

Son of a last war winner of the D.C.M. W/O Stanley Howe, whose wife and two daughters live at 56 Edna Street, was awarded the D.C.M. for outstanding bravery during the fighting in N.W. Europe. Thomas Howe, of 15 Gibraltar Lane Denton, gained his award in the 1914-18 war.
On August 12th, 1944, near La Plessis, the 9th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry, was ordered to attack a feature. W/O Howe’s company was the forward company. The objective was strongly held and throughout the advance the company was heaverly shelled and mortared. W/O Howe displayed personal courage and powers of leadership of the highest order during the entire action, and it was due to his initiative that the company gained and held it’s objective.
Mr. Howe, was born in the house where his parents still live on Gibraltar Lane. As a boy he went to Haughton St. Mary’s School, and played in the school’s football and cricket teams.
He was accompanied to London by his wife, daughters, father and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Maidment. They arrived at the Palace about 9-45 a.m., and were shown into a fine room in the right wing of the Palace, where about 280 Servicemen, including Hyde’s ex-Sergeant Smith, were waiting to be received by His Majesty. The King spoke to each man as he passed.
Sergeant Smith is a member of Hyde Botanical Club, and came in for many congratulations at a 
party at the club, when over 100 ex-servicemen and women were “Welcomed Home”


The Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) was (until 1993) an extremely high level award for bravery. It was a second level military decoration awarded to other  ranks of the British Army and formerly also to non-commissioned personnel of other Commonwealth countries.
The medal was instituted in 1854, during the Crimean War to recognise gallantry within the other ranks, for which it was equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) awarded for bravery to commissioned officers, but the DCM ranked well below the DCO in precedence.
Although considered to be the army's second ranking gallantry award, the DCM was almost always seen as a "near miss for the VC"
I'd like to thank Lynne Quirk for sending in the newspaper cutting the above posting came from.
Lynne says
"Thank you for the post about my Mum's book. I am sending you this cutting about the DCM double award in Hyde after WW2. Stanley Howe, one of the two recipients, was the childhood friend my mum mentioned in the book "Where's Our Lizzie". She describes him as a neighbour and school friend. You can see from the article that he lived at number 15 Gibraltar Lane, Haughton Green as a lad. She lived at number 11. From the article you can see that his father won it in WW1. In my mum's book she says how the father, Tommy Howe, worked down the pit with her Dad. Although miners were exempt from call up, Mr Howe senior insisted on enlisting in WW1 and won the DCM for bravery . She goes on to say that her childhood friend Stanley also won it in WW2. He had obviously moved to Hyde by this time. I found this newspaper cutting among her "treasures" when she died in 2008. She had kept it all those years"

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