Category: Military Cross

Commando Winners of the Victoria Cross

The Commando Winners of the Victoria Cross Plaque may be found at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Lt Col Geoffrey Keyes VC, MC.
Lt Col Charles Newman VC
Sgt Thomas Durrant VC
Maj Patrick Porteus VC
L/Cpl Henry Harden VC
Lt George A Knowland VC
Cpl Thomas Hunter VC
Maj Anders Lassen VC, MC**

DRW © 2018. Created 21/08/2018

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

William Barnsley Allen VC. DSO. MC*.

 William Barnsley Allen (08/06/1892 – 27/08/1933) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions with the Royal Field Artillery, near Mesnil, France.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29802 Page: 10394, reads

“Captain William Barnsley Allen, M.C., M.B., Royal Army Medical Corps.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.  
When gun detachments were unloading H.E. ammunition from wagons which had just come up, the enemy suddenly began to shell the battery position. The first shell fell on one of the limbers, exploded the ammunition and caused several casualties. 

Captain Allen saw the occurrence and at once, with utter disregard of danger, ran straight across the open, under heavy shell fire, commenced dressing the wounded, and Undoubtedly by his promptness saved many of them from bleeding to death.

He was himself hit four times during the first hour by pieces of shells, one of which – fractured two of his ribs, but he never even mentioned this at the time, and coolly went on with his work till the last man was dressed and safely removed. 

He then went over to another battery and tended a wounded officer. It was only when this was done that he returned to his dug-out and reported his own injury”

Lt. William Barnsley Allen. VC. DSO, MC*

He was also awarded the DSO and Military Cross, and later, a bar to his Military Cross.

He died of an accidental drug overdose in 1933 and is buried in Earnley Churchyard, Brackleham, Sussex and is commemorated on a plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum.

DRW © 2017-2018. Created 12/07/2017. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:16

James Thomas Byford McCudden VC, DSO*, MC*, MM

James Thomas Byford McCudden (28/03/1895 – 09/07/1918 ) was awarded the Victoria Cross while serving in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30604, Page: 3997, reads:

“His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officer: —

2nd Lt. (T./Capt.) James Byford McCudden, D.S.O., M.C., M.M., Gen. List and R.F.C.

For most conspicuous bravery, exceptional perseverance, keenness, and very high devotion to duty.

Captain McCudden has at the present time accounted  for 54 enemy aeroplanes! Of these 42 have been definitely destroyed, 19 of them on our side of the lines. Only 12 out of the 54 have been driven out of control. On two occasions, he has totally destroyed four two-seater enemy aeroplanes on the same day, and on the last occasion all four machines were destroyed in the space of 1 hour and 30 minutes.

While in his present squadron he has participated in 78 offensive patrols, and. in nearly every case has been the leader. On at least 30 other occasions, whilst with the same squadron, he has crossed the lines alone, either in pursuit or in quest of enemy aeroplane.

The following incidents are examples of the work he has done recently: —

On the 23rd December, 1917, when leading his patrol, eight enemy aeroplanes were attacked between 2.30 p.m. and 3.50 p.m. Of these two were shot down by Captain McCudden in our lines. On the morning of the same day he left the ground at 10.50 and encountered four enemy aeroplanes; of these he shot two down.

On the 30th January, 1918, he, single-handed, attacked five enemy scouts, as a result of which two were destroyed. On this occasion he only returned home when the enemy scouts had been driven far east; his Lewis gun ammunition was all finished and the belt of his Vickers gun had broken.

As a patrol leader he has at all times shown the utmost gallantry and skill, not only in the manner in which he has attacked and destroyed the enemy, but in the way he has during several aerial fights protected the newer members of his flight, thus keeping down their casualties to a minimum.

This officer is considered, by the record, which he has made, by his fearlessness, and by the great service which he has rendered to his country, deserving of the very highest honour.”

On 9 July 1918 McCudden was killed in a flying accident when his aircraft crashed following an engine fault. He is buried at the British war cemetery at Beauvoir-Wavans.

The wartime service and deaths of James McCudden VC and Edward Mannock VC were the subject of a documentary on the BBC entitled “Aces Falling

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 03/05/2017.  Image courtesy of Mark Green. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:09

Thomas Tannatt Pryce VC, MC*

Thomas Tannatt Pryce (17/01/1886 – 13/04/1918) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions On 11 April 1918 at Vieux-Berquin, France while an acting captain in the 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30697, Page: 6057,  reads:

“Lt. (A./Capt.) Thomas Tannatt Pryce, M.C., G. Gds. For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty, and self-sacrifice when in command of a  flank on the left of the Grenadier Guards. Having been ordered to attack a -village, he personally led forward two platoons, working from house to house, killing some thirty of the enemy, seven of whom he killed himself.

The next day he was occupying a position with some thirty to forty men, the remainder of his company having become casualties. As early as 8.15 a.m. his left flank was surrounded and the enemy was enfilading him. He was attacked no less than four times during the day, and each time beat off the hostile attack, killing many of the enemy.

Meanwhile, the enemy brought up three field guns to within 300 yards of his line, and were firing over open sights and knocking his trench in. At 6.15 p.m. the enemy had worked to within sixty yards of his trench. He then called on his men, telling them to cheer and charge the enemy and fight to the last. Led by Captain Pryce, they left their trench and drove back the enemy, with the bayonet, some 100 yards. Half an hour later the enemy had again approached in stronger force. By this time Captain Pryce had only 17 men left, and every round of his ammunition had been fired. Determined that there should be no surrender, he once again led his men forward in a bayonet charge, and was last seen engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle with overwhelming numbers of the enemy.

With some forty men he had held back at least one enemy battalion for over ten hours. His company undoubtedly stopped the advance through the British line, and thus had great influence on the battle.” 

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing. in Belgium, Panel 1.

Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing. Image courtesy of Ralph McLean and the South African War Graves Project.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 01/05/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:10

Edward Corringham “Mick” Mannock VC, DSO, MC.

Edward Corringham “Mick” Mannock (24/05/1887 – 26/07/1918) Was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving with the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. 

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 31463, Page: 9136, reads:

“His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the late Captain (acting Major) Edward Mannock, D.S.O., M.C., 85th Squadron Royal Air Force, in recognition of bravery of the first order in Aerial Combat:

— On the 17th June, 1918, he attacked a Halberstadt machine near Armentieres and destroyed it from a height of 8,000 feet.

On the 7th July, 1918, near Doulieu, he attacked and destroyed one Fokker (red-bodied) machine, which went vertically into the ground from a height of 1,500 feet. Shortly afterwards he ascended 1,000 feet and attacked another Fokker biplane, firing 60 rounds into it, which produced an immediate spin, resulting, it is believed, in a crash.

On the 14th July, 1918, near Merville, he attacked and crashed a Fokker from 7,000 feet, and brought a two-seater down damaged.

On the 19th July, 1918, near Merville, he fired 80 rounds into an Albatross two-seater, which went to the ground in flames.

On the 20th July, 1918, East of La Bassee, he attacked and crashed an enemy two-seater from a height of 10,000 feet.

About an hour afterwards he attacked at 8,000 feet a Fokker biplane near Steenwercke and drove it down out of control, emitting smoke. On the 22nd July, 1918, near Armentieres, he destroyed an enemy triplane from a height of 10,000 feet.

Major Mannock was awarded the undermentioned distinctions for his previous combats in the air in France and Flanders: — Military Cross. Gazetted 17th September, 1917.

Bar to Military Cross. ‘Gazetted 18th October, 1917.

Distinguished Service Order. Gazetted 16th September, 1918.

Bar to Distinguished Service Order (1st). Gazetted 16th September, 1918.

Bar to Distinguished Service Order (2nd). Gazetted 3rd August, 1918.

This highly distinguished officer, during the whole of his career in the Royal Air Force, was an outstanding example of fearless courage, remarkable skill, devotion to duty and self sacrifice, which has never been surpassed. The total number of machines definitely accounted for by Major Mannock up to the date of his death in France (26th July, 1918) is fifty —the total specified in the Gazette” of 3rd August, 1918, was incorrectly given as 48, instead of 41″

He was killed in action dogfighting too close to the ground on 26 July 1918 and has no known grave, and is Commemorated on the Royal Flying Corps Memorial to the Missing at the Faubourg d’Amiens CWGC Cemetery in Arras. It is speculated that the remains in Grave 12, Plot III, Row F, of Laventie CWGC war cemetery, could be those of Mick Mannock.

The Wartime service and deaths of James McCudden VC and Edward Mannock VC were the subject of a documentary on the BBC entitled “Aces Falling

Arras Memorial to the Missing. Image courtesy of Ralph McLean and the South African War Graves Project

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 01/05/2017. Inscription image courtesy of Mark Green. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:10

John “Jack” Harrison VC, MC.

John “Jack” Harrison  (12/11/1890 – 03/05/1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on the 3rd of May 1917 when ordered, with the rest of his brigade, to attack a wood near Oppy, Pas-de-Calais.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette  of Supplement: 30130, Page: 5866, reads:

“R. T/2nd Lt. John Harrison, M.C., E. York.

For most conspicuous bravery and self sacrifice in an attack.

Owing to darkness and to smoke from the enemy barrage, and from our own, and to the fact that our objective was in a dark wood, it was impossible to see when our barrage had lifted off the enemy front line.

Nevertheless, 2nd Lt. Harrison led his company against the enemy trench under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, but was repulsed. Reorganising his command as best he could in No Man’s Land, he again attacked in darkness under terrific fire, but with no success.

Then, turning round, this gallant officer single-handed made a dash at the machinegun, hoping to knock out the gun and so save the lives of many of his company.

His self-sacrifice and absolute disregard of danger was an inspiring example to all. (He is reported missing, believed killed.)”

He was also awarded the Military Cross for his actions on 25 February 1917,  when he lead a patrol into no man’s land.

The Citation reads: 

“Temp. 2nd Lt. John Harrison, E. York. R. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He handled his platoon with great courage and skill, reached his objective under the most trying conditions, and captured a prisoner. He set a splendid example throughout.”

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the Missing, France. Bay 4 and 5. 

 

Arras Memorial to the Missing. Image courtesy of Ralph Mclean and the South African War Graves Project. 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 29/04/2017. Inscription image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:04

Reverend Bernard William Vann VC, MC,

Reverend Bernard William Vann VC, MC. (09/07/1887 – 03/10/1918), was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 29 September 1918 at Bellenglise and Lehaucourt, France.

The Citation, recorded at the London Gazette of 13 December 1918. Supplement: 31067, Page: 14774, reads:

“Capt. (A./Lt.-Col ) Bernard William Vann, M.C., late I/8th Bn., attd. I/6th Bn., Notts. & Derby. R. (T.F.).

For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and fine leadership during the attack at Bellenglise and Lehaucourt on September 29th, 1918.

He led his battalion with great skill across the Canal Du Nord through a very thick fog and under heavy fire from field and machine guns.

On reaching the high ground above Bellenglise the whole attack was held up by fire of all descriptions from the front and right flank.

Realising that everything depended on the advance going forward with the barrage, Col. Vann rushed up to the firing line and with the greatest gallantry led the line forward. By his prompt action and absolute contempt for danger the whole situation was changed, the men were encouraged and the line swept forward.

Later, he rushed a field-gun single-handed and knocked out three of the detachment. The success of the day was in no small degree due to the splendid gallantry and fine leadership displayed by this officer.

Lt.-Col. Vann, who had on all occasions set the highest example: of valour, was killed near Ramicourt on 3rd October, 1918, when leading his battalion in attack.”

He was the only ordained clergyman of the Church of England to win the VC in the Great War as a combatant, and was awarded the Military Cross (MC)

“At Kemmel on 24 April 1915 when a small advance trench which he occupied was blown in, and he himself wounded and half buried, he showed the greatest determination in organising the defence and rescuing buried men under heavy fire, although wounded and severely bruised he refused to leave his post until directly ordered to do so. At Ypres on 31 July 1915, and subsequent days, he ably assisted another officer to hold the left trench of the line, setting a fine example to those around him. On various occasions he has led patrols up to the enemy’s trenches and obtained valuable information.”

He was killed in action, shot by a sniper at Ramicourt, France, on 3 October 1918 and is buried in Bellicourt British Cemetery, France.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 26/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:05

Rupert Price Hallowes VC, MC

Rupert Price Hallowes (05/05/1881 – 30/09/1915) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions between 25 and 30 September 1915 at Hooge, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded by the London Gazette on 16 November 1915, Supplement: 29371, Page: 11448 reads:

“Temporary Second Lieutenant Rupert Price Hallowes, 4th Battalion, The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment).

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the fighting at Hooge between 25th September and 1st October, 1915.

Second Lieutenant Hallowes displayed throughout these days the greatest bravery and untiring energy, and set a magnificent example to his men during four heavy and prolonged bombardments. On more than one occasion he climbed up on the parapet, utterly regardless of danger, in order to put fresh heart into his men. He made daring reconnaissances of the German positions in cur lines. When the supply of bombs was running short he went,back under very heavy shell fire and brought up a fresh supply. Even after he was mortally wounded he continued to cheer those around him and to inspire them with fresh courage.”

He is buried in Bedford House Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium.

© DRW 2017-2018, created 25/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions © 2001, first issued 1916. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:07

Eric Stuart Dougall VC, MC

Eric Stuart Dougall (13/04/1886 – 14/04/1918) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 10 April 1918 at Messines, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30726, Page: 6571 reads:

“Lt (A /Capt) Eric Stuart Dougall, M C , late EFA (S R ).

For most conspicuous bravely and skilful leadership in the field when in command of his battery Captain Dougall maintained his guns in action from early morning throughout a heavy concentration of gas and high-explosive shell. Finding that he could not clear the crest owing to the withdrawal of our line, Captain Dougall ran his guns on to the top of the ridge to fire over open sights. By this time our infantry had been pressed back in line with the guns,  Captain Dougall at once assumed command of the situation, rallied and organised the infantry, supplied them with Lewis guns, and armed as many gunners as he could spare with rifles With these he formed a line in front of his battery which during this period was harassing the advancing enemy with a rapid late of fire.  Although exposed to both rifle and machine gun fire, this officer fearlessly walked about as though on parade, calmly giving orders and encouraging everybody He inspired the infantry with his assurance that “So long as you stick to your trenches I will keep my guns here” This line was maintained throughout the day, thereby delaying the enemy’s advance for over twelve hours.  In the evening, having expended all ammunition, the battery received orders to withdraw.  This was done by man-handling the guns over a distance of about 800 yards of shell-cratered country, an almost impossible feat considering the ground and the intense machine gun fire.

Owing to Captain Dougall’s personality and skillful leadership throughout this trying day there is no doubt that a serious breach in our line was averted This gallant officer was killed four days later whilst directing the fire of his battery.”

He is buried in Westoutre British Cemetery, Heuvelland, Belgium 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 24/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:43

Harold Ackroyd VC, MC

Harold Ackroyd (18/07/1877 – 11/08/1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions as a temporary captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to the 6th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, (Princess Charlotte of Wales`s) during the First World War. 

The Citation, Recorded in the London gazette, of Supplement: 30272 Page: 9259 reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery. During recent operations Capt. Ackroyd displayed the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty. Utterly regardless of danger, he worked continuously for many hours up and down and in front of the line tending the wounded and saving the lives of officers and men. In so doing he had to move across the open under heavy machine-gun, rifle and shell fire. He carried a wounded officer to a place of safety under very heavy fire.

On another occasion he went some way in front of our advanced line and brought in a wounded man under continuous sniping and machine-gun fire. His heroism was the means of saving many lives, and provided a magnificent example of courage, cheerfulness, and determination to the fighting men in whose midst he was carrying out his splendid work. This gallant officer has since been killed in action.”

He was killed in action on  11 August 1917 at Glencorse Wood, Ypres, and is buried at Burr Cross Roads Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium. 

 © DRW 2017-2018. Created 24/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:44
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