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Captain Maitland Ben Levy, MC was an Australian officer of the British Army who died during the First World War.

He was born on 9 July 1893, in West Maitland, New South Wales, the eldest son of Septimus Ralph, a director in the firm David Cohen & Company, and Gwendoline Levy (née Marks). Levy studied firstly at Sydney Grammar School before continuing his education in England, at Repton, where he belonged to the institution's officer training corps.[1]

Levy returned to England soon after the outbreak of war, securing a commission as a second lieutenant in the Irish Guards. He joined No. 4 Company, of the 1st Battalion, on 24 October 1915, bringing with him a draft of three NCOs and 58 other ranks, who were divided among the battalion.[2] Levy later joined the regiment's 2nd Battalion, with which he died on 12 April 1918, in the Battle of Hazebrouck during Germany's Spring Offensive. Having long been subject to determined and sustained German attacks, Allied forces were exhausted and in some disarray at the moment the offensive shifted its attention towards Hazebrouck.[3]

On the night before Levy's death, the 2nd Irish Guards had bussed into an area near to Paradis, whence, eventually, towards the village of Vieux-Berquin. There, the following morning, the battalion came under artillery fire, aided by observation balloons. Levy, who had recently been promoted to acting captain, was struck and instantly killed by shrapnel.[4] He was one of 27 confirmed killed, of the battalion's 250 casualties, including 100 missing, during three days of fighting in and around Vieux-Berquin.[5] He had been awarded the Military Cross the previous October. His citation in the London Gazette, published in April 1918, read:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. It was mainly due to his splendid powers as a leader that the attack was so successful. He formed and held a strong point under heavy artillery fire.[6]

He has no known grave and is commemorated by the Ploegsteert Memorial.

NotesEdit

  1. Sydney Morning Herald, p. 8: "A Sydney Hero". 23 April 1918.
  2. Kipling, Rudyard, The Irish Guards in the Great War: the First Battalion, p. 124.
  3. Woodward, David R. (2009), World War I Almanac, p. 317.
  4. Kipling, Rudyard, The Irish Guards in the Great War, pp. 197-8.
  5. Kipling, Rudyard, The Irish Guards in the Great War. p. 220.
  6. The London Gazette (30614) p. 4219. 6 April 1918. Retrieved 20 November 2012.

ReferencesEdit

  • Levy, M B, cwgc.org. Retrieved 20 November 2012.

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