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Ledeghem 1918
In September, 1918 the Royal Newfoundland Regiment found itself attached to the 28th Infantry Brigade, of the 9th Division and were engaged in a general offensive along the Ypres Salient. Over a ten day period the Newfoundlanders managed to advance from Hell Fire Corner nearly nine miles. In October the Royal Newfoundland Regiment were ordered to hold the Railway Line in Ledeghem. Despite repeated attacks the Newfoundlanders held the line.


Sgt. Thomas Ricketts, VC
On 14 October the Allied offensive continued. The Newfoundlanders advanced along Courtrai and crossed the Wulddambeek stream. A German gun nest well positioned in a wooded area prevented the Regiment from advancing further. Section after section of advancing Newfoundlanders were killed. Lieutenant Stanley Newman of B Company, with a small party, attempted to outflank the German guns using a Lewis Gun. Shortly they found themselves out of ammunition. Private Thomas Ricketts of White Bay who had joined the Regiment, at the young age of fifteen, volunteered to rush back under heavy German fire to procure more ammunition. Ricketts was successful in his attempt allowing this small detachment to drive the Germans away from their guns. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was able to advance without further casualties and capture both the Germans and their field guns. Private Thomas Ricketts was later awarded the Victoria Cross for his valor that day. In part the citation read:


Victoria Cross
"Private T. Ricketts was awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on October 14,1918. During the advance from Ledgehem the attack was temporarily held up by heavy hostile fire, and the platoon to which he belonged suffered severe casualties from the fire of a battery at point blank range. Private Ricketts at once volunteered to go forward with his Section Commander and a Lewis gun to attempt to outflank the battery. They advanced by short rushes while subject to severe fire from enemy machine guns. When 300 yards away, their ammunition gave out. The enemy, seeing an opportunity to get their field guns away, began to bring up their gun teams. Private Ricketts at once realized the situation. He doubled back 100 yards, procured some ammunition and dashed back to the Lewis gun, and by very accurate fire drove the enemy and their gun teams into a farm. His platoon then advanced without casualties, and captured four field guns, four machine guns and eight prisoners. A fifth field gun was subsequently intercepted by fire and captured. By his presence of mind in anticipating the enemy intention and his utter disregard for personal safety, Private Ricketts secured the further supplies of ammunition which directly resulted in these important captures and undoubtedly saved many lives."

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