Category: Victoria Cross

William Ratcliffe VC. MM.

William Ratclifffe (18/01/1884 – 26/03/1963), was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 14 June 1917 at Messines, Belgium, 

The Citation, published in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30215 Page: 7907, reads:

“No. 2251 Pte. William Ratcliffe, S. Lane. E. For most conspicuous bravery.
After an enemy’s trench had been captured, Pte. Ratcliffe located an enemy machine gun which was firing on his comrades from the rear, whereupon, single handed and on his own initiative, he immediately, rushed the machine gun position and bayoneted the crew. He then brought the gun back into action in the front line. 

This very gallant soldier has displayed great resource on previous occasions, and has set an exceptionally fine example of devotion to duty.”

He is commemorated on the Liverpool Heroes Statue in Abercromby Square in Liverpool

Liverpool Heroes Statue. Inscription

And there is a Commemorative Plaque for him at the Hall of Remembrance in Liverpool City Hall

Commemorative Plaque, Hall of Remembrance, Liverpool City Hall

Outside the Hall of Remembrance is a framed list of names that are connected to Liverpool and he is also listed on it.

A paving stone was unveiled for him at the Liverpool Parish Church on 15 June 2017. 

William Ratcliffe VC. MM. died on 26 March 1963, and is  buried in  Allerton Cemetery in Liverpool.

DRW © 2018. Created 20/06/2018

Updated: 20/06/2018 — 18:55

Liverpool Hall of Remembrance

When I first saw the City Hall in Liverpool I asked myself whether there was a war memorial in it, and naturally it sometimes helps if you go and ask…

I was not disappointed.

Known as The Hall of Remembrance, it was opened by the Duke of Windsor, then Prince of Wales, in 1921 and contains the City’s Roll of Honour.

The Roll of Honour has the names of over 13,000 servicemen men from Liverpool who died during the First World War, with the majority of those named having served in what was then formally known as “The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)” which had many battalions, 

Bell from HMS Liverpool

Eight lunette fresco panels painted by Sir Frank Salisbury (1874 – 1962) decorate the walls and were unveiled by the Duke of York in July 1923. They represent scenes headed Infancy, Duty’s Call, Sacrifice, Immortality, Renown, Remembrance, Triumph, The Silent Watch,  Undaunted, Sea Power, Conquering the Air, and Peace. The area is also decorated with heraldic devices, military badges and symbols representing the Allied Nations.

It is a very beautiful space and worth seeing if you are in Liverpool. 

I asked to see the Noel Chavasse VC entry in the roll and it was there, as are a number of other Liverpool VC holders. 

The building also has a “Chavasse Room” and there is a framed VC list outside the room.

There is also a plaque dedicated to William Radcliffe VC., MM. presumably rescued from elsewhere. 

The City Hall is a very beautiful building in its own and dates back to the late 1700’s.  It is really a ceremonial building rather than an administrative building, 

The ground floor contains the city’s Council Chamber and a Hall of Remembrance for the Liverpool servicemen killed in the First World War. The upper floor consists of a suite of lavishly decorated rooms which are used for a variety of events and functions. 

More images of the interior of the building are available at the Town Hall Website, and I have used some of the text from the website in this post.

Special thanks to the gentlemen who we so kind as to show me the hall and permit me to get a quick glimpse of that part of the building. Thanks guys. 

DRW © 2018. Created 16/06/2018

Updated: 16/06/2018 — 19:14

Arthur Herbert Lindsay Richardson VC.

Arthur Herbert Lindsay Richardson (23/09/1872 –  15/12/1932) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Wolvespruit, about 15 miles north of Standerton, Transvaal, South Africa, on 5 July 1990.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27229 Page: 5688, reads:

“Lord Strathcona’s Corps

Sergeant Arthur Herbert Lindsey Richardson

On the 5th July, 1900, at Wolve Spruit, about 15 miles north of Standerton, a party of Lord Strathcona’s Corps, only 38 in number, came into contact, and was engaged at close quarters, with a force of 80 of the enemy. 
When the order to retire had been given, Sergeant Richardson rode back under a very heavy cross-fire and picked up a trooper whose horse had been shot and who was wounded in two places and rode with him out of fire. 
At the time when this act of gallantry was performed, Sergeant Richardson was within 300 yards of the enemy, and was himself riding a wounded horse.”

He is buried in St James Cemetery, Liverpool, and the headstone is erected  on the patch of lawn between the cemetery entrance and Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

DRW © 2018. Created 05/06/2018.  Taddy &Co cigarette card by Card Promotions, ©1997, first issued 1902.

Updated: 05/06/2018 — 05:45

Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby VC

Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby (03/02/1885 – 25/09/1915) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on the first day of the Battle of Loos.

Arthur Kilby VC

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29527, Page: 3409 reads: 

“Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby, late 2nd Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment. For most conspicuous bravery.

Captain Kilby was specially selected, at his own request, and on account of the gallantry which he had previously displayed on many occasions, to attack with his company a strong enemy redoubt.
The company charged along the narrow tow-path, headed by Captain Kilby, who, though wounded at the outset, continued to lead his men right up to the enemy wire under a devastating machine-gun fire and a shower of bombs. Here he was shot down, but, although his foot had been blown off, he continued to cheer on his men and to use a rifle. 
Captain Kilby has been missing since the date of the performance of this great act of valour, and his death” has now to be presumed.”

Captain Kilby was killed on 25 September 1915, his  heroism was acknowledged by the German defenders who erected a memorial cross at the location of his death. His body was located on 19 February 1929 and interred at Arras Road Cemetery, Roclincourt, 

He is commemorated on a Memorial Stone at the Cheltenham War Memorial.

© DRW 2018. Created 01/01/2018. Reproduction Gallaher cigarette card first issued 1916, reproduced by Card promotions © 2003

Updated: 16/01/2018 — 13:22

Anketel Moutray Read VC

Anketell Moutray Read (27/10/1884 – 25/09/1915 was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 25 September 1915 near Hulluch, France.

Ankettel Read VC

 

The Citation, published in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29371, Page: 11447 reads:

“Captain Anketell Montray Read, 1st Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment. 

For most conspicuous bravery during the first attack near Hulluch on the morning of 25th September, 1915.

Although partially gassed, Captain Read went out several times in order to rally parties of different units which were disorganised and retiring. He led them back into the firing line, and, utterly regardless of danger, moved freely about encouraging them under a withering fire. He was mortally wounded while carrying out this gallant work. 

Captain Read had previously shown conspicuous bravery during digging operations on 29th, 30th and 31st August, 1915, and on the night of the 29th-30th July he carried out of action an Officer, who was mortally wounded, under a hot fire from rifles and grenades. “

He is buried in Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, France. Born in Cheltenham, he is commemorated with a Memorial Stone at the Cheltenham War Memorial.

He is also commemorated on the War Memorial.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 01/01/2018. Gallaher cigarette card reproduction by Card Promotions © 2003, originally issued 1916. 

Updated: 16/01/2018 — 13:23

George Allan Maling. VC

George Allan Maling (6/10/1888 – 9/07/1929), was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving with the 12th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own) 

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29371,  Page: 11448, reads: 

Temporary Lieutenant George Allan Maling, M.B., Royal Army Medical Corps.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the heavy fighting near Fauquissart on 25th September, 1915.

 Lieutenant Maling worked incessantly with untiring energy from 6.15 a.m. on the 25th till 8 a.m. on the 26th, collecting and treating in the open under heavy shell fire more than 300 men. At about 11 a.m. on the 25th he was flung down and temporarily stunned by the bursting of a large high explosive shell, which wounded his only assistant and killed several of his patients. A second shell soon after covered him and his instruments with debris, but his high courage and zeal never failed him and he continued his gallant work single-handed.

He died on 9 July 1929, at the age of 40, after suffering from pleurisy. He is buried in Chislehurst Cemetery,  Chislehurst, Kent. Section A, Grave 2017, and is commemorated with a plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum. 

Capt. George Allan Maling. VC.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 12/07/2017. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions, © 2001, first issued 1916

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:16

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

Durban High School War Memorial

The images of the Durban High School War Memorial are courtesy of Shelly Baker. It may be found at GE co-ordinates -29.844204°, 30.997675°.

The school has existed since 1866 and recently celebrated it’s 150th anniversary. Sadly the Roll of Honour lists so many from the school that perished during the two World Wars as well as the Korean Conflict and the Border War, and one of it’s most famous old boys was Edwin Swales VC.  It is the oldest standing school in Durban and one of the oldest in South Africa.

250 old boys died, and more than 2000 were injured in both World Wars.  The Victoria Cross (VC), 27 Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFC), 21 Military Crosses (MC), 10 Military Medals (MM) and 8 Distinguished Service Orders (DSO) were awarded to old boys in these and subsequent conflicts. In the Battle of Delville Wood in 1916, 12 old boys were killed, 9 wounded and 3 were taken prisoner. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durban_High_School)

The dome was designed by Professor L. Croft, and old boy, and was erected at the Durban High School and Old Boy’s Memorial Trust through the generosity of the late Mrs Lilian Readshaw, a benefactor of the school. Dedicated by the Reverend R. Horrocks, 11 November 1992.

Roll of Honour panels are available on request.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 10/07/2017

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:16

Harry Norton Schofield VC

Harry Norton Schofield (29/01/1865 – 10/10/1931) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving as a captain in the Royal Artillery (Royal Field Artillery), during the Second Boer War  on 15 December 1899, at the Battle of Colenso.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27350, Page: 5737, reads: 

“Royal Field Artillery, Captain H. N. Schofield.

At Colenso, on the 15th December, 1899, when the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been killed, wounded, or driven from them by Infantry fire at close range, Captain Schofield went out when the first attempt was made to extricate the guns, and assisted in withdrawing the two that were saved.”

He was awarded the VC along with Lieutenant Frederick Roberts, Cpl George Nurse and Captain Walter Congreve for their attempt at “saving the guns”.

He served in the First World War and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel and is buried in Putney Vale Cemetery in London.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 14/06/2017. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions © 1997, first issued 1902. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:17

Sir Walter Norris Congreve VC.

Walter Norris Congreve (20/11/1862 – 28/02/1927) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving as a Captain in the Rifle Brigade during the Anglo Boer War at the Battle of Colenso. Along with Lieutenant Frederick Roberts, Cpl George Nurse and  Harry Norton Schofield they were awarded the Victoria Cross for their attempt at “saving the guns” on 15/12/1899.

The Citation that was recorded in the London Gazette of Issue:27160, Page: 689, is about the actions of Captain William Congreve and Lieutenant Frederick Roberts. George Nurse is seemingly mention as an afterthought. The Citation reads:

“The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officer, whose claims have been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, for their conspicuous bravery at the battle of Colenso, as stated against their names:—

The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own), Captain W. N. Congreve.

The King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Lieutenant the Honourable F. H. S. Roberts (since deceased).

66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Corporal G. E. Nurse

At Colenso on the 15th December, 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by Infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted.

About 500 yards behind the guns was a donga in which some of the few horses and drivers left alive were sheltered. The intervening space was swept with shell and rifle fire.

Captain Congreve, Rifle Brigade, who was in the donga, assisted to hook a team into a limber, went out; and assisted to limber up a gun. Being wounded, he took shelter; but, seeing Lieutenant Roberts fall, badly wounded, he went out again and brought him in. Captain Congreve was shot tbrough the leg, through the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and the shoulder, and his horse shot in three places.

Lieutenant Roberts assisted Captain Congreve. He was wounded in three places.

Corporal Nurse also assisted.”

Captain Congreve served held a series of command posts in Britain and Ireland and was served with distinction during World War I, deployed with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France, and taking part in the Battle of the Aisne. He went on to command the 6th Division from May 1915 and then XIII Corps from November 1915. 

From 1924 to 1927, he served as the governor of Malta, where he died. He was buried at sea in the channel between the coast and Filfla Island.

Congreve’s son was Major William La Touche Congreve, VC – they are one of only three father and son pairs to win a VC (Frederick Roberts VC and Lord Roberts VC were also father and son) 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 14/06/2017. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions, © 1997, first issued 1902. Biographical Information sourced from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Norris_Congreve.

 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:17
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