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.

Eugene Paul Bennett VC MC

Eugene Paul Bennett (04/06/1892 – 06/04/1970) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during in November 1916 during the First World War in France.

The Citation reads:

“Temporary Lieutenant Bennett, of the Worcestershire Regiment, when in command of the second wave of the attack, found that the first wave had suffered heavy casualties. Its commander had been killed and the second line was wavering. Lieutenant Bennett advanced at the head of the second wave and by his personal example of valour and resolution reached his objective with but sixty men. Isolated with his small party, he at once took steps to consolidate his position, under heavy rifle and machine gun fire from both flanks, and although wounded, he remained in command, directing and controlling. He set an example of cheerfulness and resolution beyond all praise, and there is little doubt that, but for his personal example of courage,the attack would have been checked at the outset.”

He was cremated and his ashes are interred in Vicenza Crematorium, Vicenza, Italy. Niche 115. The Commemorative Window in his memory may be found in Worcester Cathdral 

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Angus Buchanan VC, MC

Angus Buchanan (11/08/1894 –  01/03/1944),  was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during  World War One at Falauyah Lines, Mesopotamia,

The Citation reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery. During an attack an officer was lying out in the open severely wounded about 150 yards from cover. Two men went to his assistance and one of them was hit at once. Captain Buchanan, on seeing this, immediately went out and, with the help of the other man, carried the wounded officer to cover under heavy machine gun fire. He then returned and brought in the wounded man, again under heavy fire.”

He was also awarded the Military Cross in 1916, and was mentioned in despatches four times.

He is buried in Coleford Cemetery, Coleford, Gloucestershire.

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Lewis McGee VC

Lewis McGee (13/05/1888 – 12/10/1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the First World War.

The Citation reads:

“As part of the third phase of the Passchendaele offensive, the 10th Australian Brigade—of which McGee’s 40th Battalion was part—was detailed to execute an attack on Broodseinde Ridge. The brigade was allocated four primary objectives to seize during the assault, one for each battalion, with the 40th Battalion to take the final target located on the ridge itself. The advance commenced at the predetermined time of 06:00 on 4 October 1917, under the cover of an artillery barrage. The first three battalions were able to seize their objectives, though the fighting intensified with each stage. As the 40th Battalion set to advance towards the final objective, its progress became hampered by increasingly heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, as well as by barbed wire entanglements and sectors of impassable swamp.

With McGee’s B Company heading the 40th Battalion’s advance, the unit was able to progress to a point approximately 270 metres (300 yd) in front of the crest, where it was confronted by a thick line of barbed wire and another bog, while simultaneously subject to the fire of ten machine guns in trenches and heavily defended pillboxes. The men of B Company struggled to within 90 metres (98 yd) of the battalion’s objective, when the severe fire of the German machine guns pinned them down in shellholes.

McGee’s platoon was suffering heavy casualties from a particular machine gun 50 metres (55 yd) in front of his position, which was set in a recess atop a concrete pillbox and firing directly at his men. Armed solely with a revolver, McGee dashed alone towards the post across the fire-swept ground. Shooting the gunners, he captured the remaining soldiers in the garrison as prisoners and seized control of the pillbox. On returning to his unit, he reorganised his men and led a bombing party in the capture of a second machine-gun post. McGee’s actions reignited the 40th Battalion’s advance, with McGee himself “foremost in the remainder” of the action. By 09:12 on 5 October, the 40th Battalion had seized its objective and held complete control of the Broodseinde Ridge, having captured 300 Germans as prisoners in the process.

As a result of his actions at Broodseinde, McGee was awarded the Victoria Cross, one of two Australians to be so decorated that day. However, he never saw the announcement of the award. On 12 October 1917—eight days after McGee’s Victoria Cross action—the 40th Battalion returned to the frontline, in an attempt to exploit the success of the previous week. The battlefield was drenched in rain, turning the ground into a quagmire that was additionally dominated by several German pillboxes. McGee—who had been appointed acting company sergeant major of B Company that morning—led his unit into the attack. As the men of the company advanced forward, a machine gun began firing upon them from the front, before a second opened up on their flank. Men ran to take cover in shellholes as the German fire inflicted several casualties. McGee, however, made a rush towards the guns in an apparent effort to silence them. As he ran towards the pillbox, a bullet struck him in the head, killing him instantly. McGee was later buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery; he was one of 248 members of the 40th Battalion killed or wounded during the Battle of Passchendaele. McGee’s fellow Australian Victoria Cross recipient from Broodseinde, Lance Corporal Walter Peeler, was also severely wounded on this day, receiving a bullet wound to his arm.”

He is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Belgium.

Lewis McGee VC.

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 19/01/2016. Image courtesy of Mark Green. 

James Peter Robertson VC

James Peter Robertson (26/10/1883 – 06/11/1917) was  awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the First World War.

The Citation reads:

“Peter Robertson earned the Victoria Cross during the final assault on Passchendaele, Belgium, 6 November 1917 with the 27th Infantry Battalion. His platoon was held up by barbed wire and a German machine gun. He was able to dash round to an opening on the flank of the enemy position and rush the gun. After a desperate struggle, Robertson killed four of the crew, then turned the enemy gun on the remainder. This enabled his platoon to continue towards its objective, with Robertson still firing the captured gun at the enemy as it retreated. Later when two of his own snipers were wounded in front of their trench, he went out and carried one of them in under severe fire, but when he returned with the second man, he was killed by a bursting shell.”

He is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendale, Belgium.

James Peter Robertson VC

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William Amey VC, MM

William Amey (05/03/1881 – 28/05/1940) was awarded the Victoria Cross for for his actions at Landrecies, France, during the First World War.

The Citation reads:

“On 4 November 1918 at Landrecies, France, when many hostile machine-gun nests were missed by the leading troops owing to fog, Lance-Corporal Amey led his section against a machine-gun nest under heavy fire and drove the garrison into a neighbouring farm, finally capturing 50 prisoners and several machine-guns. Later, single-handed and under heavy fire he attacked a machine-gun post in a farmhouse, killed two of the garrison and drove the remainder into a cellar until assistance arrived. Subsequently he rushed a strongly held post, capturing 20 more prisoners”.

He is buried in Leamington Spa Cemetery, Leamington Spa

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 18/01/2016. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Robert Edwin Phillips VC

Robert Edwin Phillips (11/04/1895 –  23/09/1968) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions On 25 January 1917 near KutMesopotamia during the First World War in 1917.  Lieutenant Phillips went to the assistance of his commanding officer (Edward Elers Delaval Henderson) who was lying in the open mortally wounded while leading a counter-attack. 

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30122, Page: 5703, reads:

“Temp. Lt. and Adj.t. Robert Edwin Phillips, R. War. R.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.
After his Commanding Officer had been mortally wounded in leading a counter attack, Lt. Phillips went out under the most intense fire to his assistance, and eventually, with the help of a comrade, succeeded in bringing him back to our lines. 

Lt. Phillips had in the first instance tried to get a telephone wire across the open following
the battalion in their counter-attack. This was impossible when the Signallers were killed. His ‘Commanding Officer lay wounded in the open, and as the counter attack had succeeded, he turned all his energies on getting him in. He showed sustained courage in its very highest form, and but little chance of ever getting back alive.” 

He is buried in St Cyrus & St Julietta Churchyard, St Veep, Cornwall. 


© DRW 2016-2018. Created 14/01/2017, image courtesy of Mark Green

William Henry Johnson VC MM

William Henry Johnson (15/10/1890 –  25/04/1945) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the First World War at Ramicourt. 

The Citation reads:

For most conspicuous bravery at Ramicourt on the 3rd of October, 1918. When his platoon was held up by a nest of enemy machine guns at very close range, Sjt. Johnson worked his way forward under very heavy fire, and single-handed charged the post, bayoneting several gunners and capturing two machine guns. During this attack he was severely wounded by a bomb, but continued to lead forward his men.

Shortly afterwards the line was once more held up by machine guns. Again he rushed forward and attacked the post singlehanded. With wonderful courage he bombed the garrison, put the guns out of action, and captured the teams.

 He showed throughout the most exceptional gallantry and devotion to duty.”

He is buried in Redhill Cemetery, Nottingham.

William Henry Johnson VC 15/10/1890 -  25/04/1945 Redhill Cemetery, Nottingham

William Henry Johnson VC
15/10/1890 – 25/04/1945
Redhill Cemetery, Nottingham

DRW © 2016-2020. Created 31/10/2016

Walter Richard Parker VC

Walter Richard Parker (20/09/1881- 28/11/1936) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Gallipoli during the First World War. 

The Citation reads:

On the night of 30 April/1 May 1915 at Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli, Turkey, Lance-Corporal Parker, a volunteer stretcher-bearer, went out with a party of NCOs and men to take ammunition, water and medical stores to an isolated trench containing about 40 men and several wounded. There were no communication trenches leading to the trench, and several men had already been killed in an attempt to reach it.

After crossing an area of about 400 yards swept by machine-gun and rifle fire, Lance-Corporal Parker was alone, the rest of the party having been killed or wounded. On his arrival he gave assistance to the wounded and when the trench was finally evacuated early the next morning, he helped to remove and attend the casualties, although he himself was seriously wounded.”

He is buried in Stapleford Cemetery, Nottingham.

Walter Richard Parker VC 20/09/1881 - 28/11/1936 Stapleford Cemetery, Nottingham

Walter Richard Parker VC
20/09/1881 – 28/11/1936
Stapleford Cemetery, Nottingham

DRW © 2016-2020. Created 31/10/2016. Image by Mark Green

John Joseph Caffrey VC

John Joseph Caffrey (23/10/1891 –  22/02/1953) was awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War in November 1915.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29447, Page: 945, reads:

No. 9730 Private John Caffrey, 2nd Battalion, The York and Lancaster Regiment.

For most conspicuous bravery on 16th November, 1915, near La Brique. 

A man of the West Yorkshire Regiment .had been badly wounded and was lying in the open unable to move in full view of and about 300 to 400 yards from the enemy’s trenches. Corporal Stirk, Royal -Army Medical Corps, and Private Caffrey at once started out to rescue him, but at the first 0 attempt they were driven back by shrapnel fire. Soon afterwards they started again under close sniping and machine-gun fire, and succeeded in reaching and bandaging the wounded man. but, just as Corporal Stirk had lifted him on Private Caffrey’s back, he himself was shot in the head. Private Caffrey put down the wounded man, bandaged Corporal Stirk and helped him back into safety. He then returned and brought in the man of the West Yorkshire Regiment. He had made three journeys across the. open under close and accurate fire and had risked his own life to save others with the utmost coolness and bravery.”

He is buried in Wilford Hill Cemetery, Nottingham

John Joseph Caffrey VC. 23/10/1891 - 22/02/1953 Wilford Hill Cemetery, Nottingham

John Joseph Caffrey VC.
23/10/1891 – 22/02/1953
Wilford Hill Cemetery, Nottingham

DRW © 2016-2018. Created 30/10/2016. Image courtesy of  Mark Green. Edited 02/06/2017. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions © 2001, first issued 1915.