A scarce Great War ‘French theatre’ M.M. awarded to Lance Corporal M. J. Sheridan, 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company, Australian Imperial Force, who was wounded in action 18 February 1917
Single: Military Medal, G.V.R. (1163 L. Cpl. M. J. Sheridan. Aust: E.)
M.M. London Gazette 17 June 1919.
Michael Joseph Sheridan was born in Kingston, Dublin, Ireland in 1886. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Blackboy Hill, Western Australia, 29 November 1915, and served with the 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company, Australian Engineers in the French theatre of war from 5 May 1916. The Australian company relieved the 255th Tunnelling Company in the Laventie/Fauquissart area in May 1916.
Sheridan was wounded in action, 18 February 1917, and having returned to his unit was posted to work around the Cité St. Pierre area near Lens in late 1917. In February 1918, ‘a party of men from the 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company’s headquarters at Bracquemont travelled 40 kilometres to the British Tank Corps headquarters located at Bermicourt. On 10 February, an overcast day which saw men thickly clothed and cloaked in their trench coats to stave off the chill wind that swept across the open landscape, the tunnellers prepared and simultaneously blew two mines placed next to each other on the Tank Corps’ tank testing area.
The mines were blown as part of a trial designed to test the effectiveness of mine craters as a defence against tanks, and British tanks were used to negotiate the obstacles thus created. The group of Australian tunnellers comprised the company’s CO, Major Alexander Sanderson, Sergeant 1012 Matthew Goodlad, 2nd Corporal 1163 Michael Sheridan.... [and 7 others]... Two tanks rumbled down into the mine craters until their roofs were flush with ground level. Then, amid clouds of exhaust fumes and the roar of engines, they struggled to gain sufficient traction up the steep, crumbly crater walls to haul themselves out.
Among the witnesses to the trial were Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Holland, the General Officer Commanding I Corps, his Chief Engineer, Brigadier General H. Gordon, D.S.O., the commanding officers of the 185th Company and the 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company, Majors Tulloch and North respectively, and Charles Bean, the Australian Official Historian.
The information gained on this day proved to be of immense value to the 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company, then operating in the I Corps area, in its preparation of defensive works to meet German tank assault along the front at Loos....’ (Crumps and Camouflets, Australian Tunnelling Companies on the Western Front by D. Finlayson refers)
Sheridan advanced to Lance Corporal in April 1918, and returned to Australia in June 1919. He was discharged, 19 December 1919.
Nearly very fine $2250
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