Tag: NMA

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

Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC*, MC

Noel Godfrey Chavasse (09/11/1884 – 04/08/1917) was first awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 9 August 1916, at Guillemont, France when he attended to the wounded all day under heavy fire.

Reproduction Gallaher cigarette card.

The Citation, Recorded in the London Gazette, issue 29802,  page 10394,  24 October 1916 reads: 

“Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, M.C., M.B., Royal Army Medical Corps.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.

During an attack he tended the wounded in the open all day, under heavy fire, frequently in view of the enemy. During the ensuing night he searched for wounded on the ground in front of the enemy’s lines for four hours.

Next day he took one stretcher-bearer to the advanced trenches, and under heavy shell fire carried an urgent case for 500 yards into safety, being wounded in the side by a shell splinter during the journey. The same night he took up a party of twenty volunteers, rescued three wounded men from a shell hole twenty-five yards from the enemy’s trench, buried the bodies of two officers, and collected many identity discs, although fired on by bombs and machine guns.

Altogether he saved the lives of some twenty badly wounded men, besides the ordinary cases which passed through his hands. His courage and self-sacrifice, were beyond praise.”

He was awarded the  Bar to his Victoria Cross for his actions from 31 July to 2 August 1917, at Wieltje, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded in the  London Gazette, issue 30284, page 9531,  14 September 1917 reads:

“His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of a Bar to the Victoria Cross to Capt. Noel Godfrey Chavasse, V.C., M.C., late R.A.M.C., attd. L’pool R.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in action.

Though severely wounded early in the action whilst carrying a wounded soldier to the Dressing Station, Capt. Chavasse refused to leave his post, and for two days not only continued to perform his duties, but in addition went out repeatedly under heavy fire to search for and attend to the wounded who were lying out.

During these searches, although practically without food during this period, worn with fatigue and faint with his wound, he assisted to carry in a number of badly wounded men, over heavy and difficult ground.

By his extraordinary energy and inspiring example, he was instrumental in rescuing many wounded who would have otherwise undoubtedly succumbed under the bad weather conditions.

This devoted and gallant officer subsequently died of his wounds.”

Captain Noel Chavasse died of his wounds in Brandhoek and is buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, Vlamertinge, Belgium. 

He is the only man to be awarded the Victoria Cross and Bar in the First World War.

In Liverpool, at Abercromby Square, there is a a statue called “Liverpool Heroes” that features Noel Chavasse as its main focus.

He is also commemorated with a bust in Liverpool Cathedral. His father, Francis Chavasse was very instrumental in the building of the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool. The Roll of Honour is also opened on the entry for his name.

Liverpool also has a Chavasse Park in the Liverpool One shopping complex. It is not easy to find a name board unless you know where to look. I was fortunate that I found somebody that was able to assist me in finding the board.

There is a commemorative plaque to him at the National Memorial Arboretum.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 23/04/2017. Grave image courtesy of Mark Green. Cigarette card reproduction by Card Promotions © 2003. Added Liverpool references 07/06/2018.

Updated: 20/06/2018 — 19:58

James Henry Reynolds VC

James Henry Reynolds (03/02/1844 – 04/03/1932) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Rorke’s Drift during the Zulu War in 1879.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 24734, Page: 3966, reads:

“Army Medical Department, Surgeon – Major James Henry Reynolds.

For the conspicuous bravery, during the attack at Rorke’s Drift on the 22nd and 23rd January, 1879, which he exhibited in his constant attention to the wounded under fire, and in his voluntarily conveying ammunition from the store to the defenders of the Hospital, whereby he exposed himself to a cross-fire from the enemy both in going and returning.”

He is buried in St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in London. A commemorative plaque was also erected at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.  

James Reynolds VC 03/02/1844 -  04/03/1932 St Mary's RC Cem, London

Surg. James Henry Reynolds. VC.

Commemorative plaque for Surgeon James Henry Reynolds. VC. at the NMA..

St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery

 © DRW 2016-2018. Created 16/08/2016, edited 11/05/2017

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 07:44

Joseph John Farmer VC.

Joseph John Farmer (15/05/1854 – 30/06/1930) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in the First Boer War on 27 February 1881, on Majuba Hill in South Africa.

The Citation,Issue: 24973, Page: 2553, reads:

“Army Hospital Corps. Provisional Lance-Corporal Joseph John Farmer, For conspicuous bravery during the engagement with the Boers at the Majuba Mountain, on the 27th February, 1881, when he showed a spirit of self-abnegation and an example of cool courage which cannot be too highly commended.

While the Boers closed with the British troops near the wells, Corporal Farmer held a white flag over the wounded, and when the arm holding the flag was shot through, he called out that he had “another.” He then raised the flag with the other arm, and continued to do so until that also was pierced with a bullet.”

He is buried in Brompton Cemetery in London.

His headstone is made from a rock supposedly brought from Majuba and is inscribed to that effect (inscription recreated for clarity).

There is a commemorative plague erected at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in his honour.

Brompton Cemetery, London

© DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 21/09/2015, edited 09/05/2017

Updated: 10/01/2018 — 07:42

Reginald Frederick Johnson Hayward VC, MC*

Captain Reginald Frederick Johnson Hayward VC was the son of stockbreeder Frederick and Gertrude Hayward. He was born on 17 June 1891 at the Beersheba Mission Station near Swartruggens, East Griqualand, and was educated at Hilton College Natal, Durban Business College and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the United Kingdom.
In May 1912 Reginald joined 6th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 29 September 1914. During October 1916 he was involved in action at Stuff Redoubt, Thiepval, France and he was awarded the Military Cross, a bar was added to his MC during the battle of Messines in Belgium.

In March 1918, as the Germans advanced towards Bapaume, the 1st Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment was moved to the north of Fremicourt, a village east of Bapaume and just south of the Cambrai road. 4th Corps was trying to hold a line between Vaulx and Morchies to the north of the road. The surviving Wiltshires, three officers and 54 NCO’s and men, were gathered at Bihucourt, north-west of Bapaume, on 24 March. When the German offensive had opened on the 21st, 8th Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment mounted an unsuccessful counter-attack at Doignies to try and contain the enemy advance south of the Cambrai-Bapaume road. They were then withdrawn west to Velu Wood. By the 23rd, the German advance had reached this point and the Glosters, together with the 10th Battalion The Royal Warwickshire Regiment was ordered to cover the further withdrawal of British forces. Bapaume itself was abandoned to the Germans.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette for Supplement: 30648,  Page:4967, reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery in action. This officer, while in command of a company, displayed almost superhuman powers of endurance and consistent courage of the rarest nature. In spite of the fact that he was buried, wounded in the head, and rendered deaf on the first day of operations, and had his arm shattered two days later, he refused to leave his men (even though he received a third serious injury to his head), until he collapsed from sheer physical exhaustion.

Throughout the whole of this period the enemy was attacking his company front without cessation, but Captain Hayward continued to move across the open front from one trench to another with absolute disregard of his own personal safety, concentrating entirely on re-organising his defences and encouraging his men.

It was almost entirely due to the magnificent example of ceaseless energy of this officer that many determined attacks on his portion of the trench system failed entirely.

Reginald Hayward survived the war and continued to serve in the military in Dublin, Egypt and Palestine. In April 1935 he was transferred to the Reserves. During the Second World War he served as Commander of the Royal Army Service Corps Anti-Aircraft Command. He retired on 09 July 1947 as an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel.

Apart from his Victoria Cross and Military Cross with Bar he was awarded the 1914 – 1915 Star, British War Medal 1914 – 1920, Victory Medal 1914 – 1919, Defence Medal 1939 – 1945, Coronation Medal 1937, Coronation Medal 1953 and Territorial Efficiency decoration.
He died on 17 January 1970 in Chelsea, London and was cremated on 23 January 1970 at the Putney Vale Crematorium, London while his ashes are scattered in the Garden of Remembrance.

Reginald Hayward VC Memorial Stone National Memorial Arboretum

Reginald Hayward VC

Memorial Stone

National Memorial Arboretum

(Based off an extract published in The VC and the GC, The Complete History, by Methuen and The VC and GC Association in 2013.

© DRW 2015-2018. Created 08/03/2015, edited 17/05/2017

Updated: 09/01/2018 — 07:36
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