On this day in 1918 …

On 12 July 1918, whilst his battalion was at Querrieu, Martin O’Meara (Australia’s only Irish-born Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War) was detached to attend a training course at the 4th Army School of Scouting, Observation and Sniping (located at Bouchon some 20 kilometres north-west of Amiens).

sniper

The course syllabus for all ranks included scouting and patrolling by day and night, using cover, navigating by day and night using a prismatic compass, constructing posts for snipers and observers, observation in trenches and in the open, musketry at ranges of up to 500 metres and sniping using telescopic sights.

A school training manual specifically noted that the purpose of the school was ‘for the training of Instructors’; Martin O’Meara was at the School in order to equip him to train other men to be scouts, observers and snipers for the 16th Battalion. As the manual also stressed that ‘musketry is a test rather than instruction because the N.C.O.s and men who attend the Course are expected to be good shots before they are sent there’, we must assume that Martin O’Meara was ‘a good shot.’

Martin O’Meara’s life is detailed in my soon-to-be-published biography.