Routley, Chester Elmer: Service no. 53610 (Distinguished Conduct Medal)

Digitized Service Record

Source: War Diary, numerous entries.


To: O.C. 18th BattalionFrom: L. Sgt. C.E. Routley, C. Coy. 18th Battalion
Time: 9.49 am.Reference: 4th C.I.B. War Diary Appendix for September 15, 1916.
Message: Have consolidated the captured trench and are working on C.T. and advanced listening post. Send up Bombs, L.G. [Lewis Gun] ammunition and magazines, also working party of 50 men with shovels and 10 men with picks. “C” Coy Officers nil, and N.C.O.’s scares [scarce].[i]

[i] Sergeant Routley’s communication clearly establishes that “C” Company had no officers commanding it.

Distinguished Conduct Medal notation London Gazette:

Routley, Chester Elmer 53610 dcm 2

London Gazette. No. 29824. Page 11108.53610 L./Sjt C. E. Routley, Infy.

For conspicuous gallantry and ability in action. After all his officers and senior N.C.O.’s had been killed or wounded Lance-Sergeant Routley took command of the company, organized the work of consolidating a captured position, and by his courage and example greatly inspired all with him in the performance of their duty.

Source: London Gazette. No. 29824. Page 11108. November 14, 1916.

Mentioned in War Diary several times. An original member of the 18th Battalion. Author of The Eighteenth Battalion: the Fighting 18th available for consultation and the Canadian War Museum. Mentioned in Matthew Walther’s Neglected Victory: The Canadian Corps at Hill 70.

In his memoir, Sergeant
Routley of the 18th Battalion, which
was holding a section of trench in
the middle of Cité St. Elizabeth, very
close to Lens, described the artillery’s
response to his S.O.S. call:

I dropped on my knees and sent up
the S.O.S. and then dropped back
again for a few minutes to have a
little rest, before taking over my job
as lookout for the platoon. I never
seen such good [sic] Artillery action
in my life. As a matter of fact, I didn’t
think that the Artillery had worked
on my S.O.S. at all. I thought that
somebody else had seen the Germans
coming and had telephoned our
artillery, for before the varey-lights
[sic] had finished burning the heavy
machine guns began firing over our
heads and everything on the line of
Artillery opened up. It was some
days later, when I was talking to
the Adjutant of our Battalion, Major
Bell, that I learned that it was my
S.O.S. that they had worked on. He
said that he was in the Observation
Post with an officer of the Artillery
when they seen [sic] my S.O.S. and
they immediately telephoned the
Artillery, who had their guns all
layed and ready.

Routley, Chester Elmer 53610 dcm 1
Routley, Chester Elmer 53610 attestation page 1
Routley, Chester Elmer 53610 attestation page 2

4 thoughts on “Routley, Chester Elmer: Service no. 53610 (Distinguished Conduct Medal)

Add yours

    1. Karen,

      Did you know that your Grandfather wrote a book about his experiences with the with the 18th Battalion?

      Thanks for the comment! Always appreciated.


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