WWI diary of captain from Bantam unit for short soldiers is revealed

sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more

The heroics of a pint-sized First World War captain who served in a special unit for short soldiers can finally be told after his war diary went up for sale - including how he repelled four German attacks.

Captain Angus McKenzie Forsyth was under 5ft 3ins, which was below the British Army's minimum height requirement.

But such was the necessity to recruit men to fight in the trenches, special 'Bantam' units were formed for vertically challenged Tommies

Men who measured between 4ft 10ins and 5ft 3ins were eligible.

Capt Forsyth volunteered as an inexperienced 20-year-old in September 1914, and joined the light infantry Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire  and Derbyshire Regiment).

Captain Angus McKenzie Forsyth (pictured), who was under 5ft 3ins, served in a special unit for short soldiers during the First World War

His heroic exploits can finally be told after his war diary went up for sale (right) - including how he repelled four German attacks

Captain Angus McKenzie Forsyth (left), who was under 5ft 3ins, served in a special unit for short soldiers during the First World War. His heroic exploits can finally be told after his war diary went up for sale (right) - including how he repelled four German attacks

Capt Forsyth, from Nottingham, was below the British Army's minimum height requirement. But such was the necessity to recruit men to fight in the trenches, special 'Bantam' units were formed for vertically challenged Tommies. Men who measured between 4ft 10ins and 5ft 3ins were eligible. (Above, a recruitment poster at the time)

Capt Forsyth, from Nottingham, was below the British Army's minimum height requirement. But such was the necessity to recruit men to fight in the trenches, special 'Bantam' units were formed for vertically challenged Tommies. Men who measured between 4ft 10ins and 5ft 3ins were eligible. (Above, a recruitment poster at the time)

Capt Forsyth chronicled his experiences in the war almost daily. In the above extract - from October 30 and 31, 1917 - he wrote in his diary: 'Colin Bell, a good officer, killed by a shell. Crowds go down with trench feet. The Boche get a direct hit on my pill box, the shell almost coming through the door. I get it in the neck and arm - fortunately only slightly, a piece smashes the butt of my revolver'

Capt Forsyth chronicled his experiences in the war almost daily. In the above extract - from October 30 and 31, 1917 - he wrote in his diary: 'Colin Bell, a good officer, killed by a shell. Crowds go down with trench feet. The Boche get a direct hit on my pill box, the shell almost coming through the door. I get it in the neck and arm - fortunately only slightly, a piece smashes the butt of my revolver'

He documented his wartime experiences in a diary, which charts his whole war with entries almost daily.

It is now being sold by his descendants at auction with his medals and mementos including his cigarette case.

In the diary, he speaks of his pride at 'being accepted (for service) despite my physical shortcomings' and 'proudly deporting a rosette on my buttonhole'.

Capt Forsyth, originally from Nottingham, proved no one had a bigger heart, serving with distinction on the Western Front.

His entries also include moments of good humour, where he jokes how his corporal was the first injury of the war - an entirely self-inflicted wound. He writes: 'We land in France after an interesting crossing... Corporal Godson had the misfortune to break his thigh by slipping on the quay - our first casualty'

His entries also include moments of good humour, where he jokes how his corporal was the first injury of the war - an entirely self-inflicted wound. He writes: 'We land in France after an interesting crossing... Corporal Godson had the misfortune to break his thigh by slipping on the quay - our first casualty'

Capt Forsyth's diary is being sold by his descendants at auction, along with his medals (above) and mementos including his cigarette case. He was awarded a prestigious Military Cross (left) for displaying 'a disregard for his own personal safety'

Capt Forsyth's diary is being sold by his descendants at auction, along with his medals (above) and mementos including his cigarette case. He was awarded a prestigious Military Cross (left) for displaying 'a disregard for his own personal safety'

Above, an entry from Christmas Day ('Give the men a good feed of roast pork'), and Dec 28. Capt Forsyth volunteered as an inexperienced 20-year-old in September 1914, and joined the light infantry Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)

Above, an entry from Christmas Day ('Give the men a good feed of roast pork'), and Dec 28. Capt Forsyth volunteered as an inexperienced 20-year-old in September 1914, and joined the light infantry Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)

He was awarded a prestigious Military Cross for displaying 'a disregard for his own personal safety'.

His citation tells of his remarkable exploits during one battle, when he led his company in capturing a stronghold and killing or capturing a large number of Germans, repelling four counter attacks.

It read: 'In an attack he led his company with great determination, capturing the objective and killing and capturing a large number of the enemy.

'With utter disregard for his own personal safety he was instrumental in beating back four separate strong counter-attacks with great loss to the enemy.

The first Bantam divisions were recruited in Birkenhead, Cheshire, after MP Alfred Bigland heard of a group of miners who were rejected from every recruiting office on account of their size

The first Bantam divisions were recruited in Birkenhead, Cheshire, after MP Alfred Bigland heard of a group of miners who were rejected from every recruiting office on account of

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

NEXT Reuters World News Summary