The memorial may be described as :“Large wall-mounted stone tablet is flanked by stone figures of Mary with Child and crown (left) and St George (Right) Inscription and names are in the centre of the tablet.”
There are 43 names from the First World War (1914-1918) and 15 from the Second World War (1939-1945) commemorated on the Memorial. (Names may be seen at the IWM listing for the Memorial).
First World War
Second World War
The Memorial was made by Messrs Caroe And Passmore and unveiled on 11 November 1920.
Outside the Priory is a wall mounted plaque with the the bases of the crosses as mentioned.
Unfortunately the legibility of the bases is poor with two exceptions:
“Assisted Commander Unwin at the work of securing the lighters under heavy rifle and maxim fire. He was wounded in the head, but continued his work and twice subsequently attempted to swim from lighter to lighter with a line.”
Towards the close of the action at Ruiter’s Kraal on the 13th August, 1901, Sergeant-Major Young, with a handful of men, rushed some kopjes which were being held by Commandant Erasmus and about 20 Boers. On reaching these kopjes the enemy were seen galloping back to another kopje held by the Boers. Sergeant-Major Young then galloped on some 50 yards ahead of his party and closing with the enemy shot one of them and captured Commandant Erasmus, the latter firing at him three times at point blank range before being taken prisoner.”
He served with the 4th South African Infantry (South African Scottish) and was killed during the Battle of the Somme on 19 October 1916 and has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing in the Somme in France. Pier 4, Face C.
Lewis Pugh Evans(03/01/1881 – 30/11/1962) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions near Zonnebek in Belgium during the First World War whilst in command of the 1st Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment.
Maj. (A./Lt.-Cfol.) Lewis Pugh Evans, D.S.O., B. Highrs., comdg. a Battalions Line. K. For most conspicuous bravery and leadership. Lt.-Col. Evans took his battalion in perfect order through a terrific enemy barrage, personally formed up all units, and led them to the assault. While a strong machine gun emplacement was causing casualties, and the troops were working round the flank, Lt.-Col. Evans rushed at it himself and by firing his revolver through the loophole forced the garrison to capitulate.
After capturing the first objective he was severely wounded in the shoulder, but refused to be bandaged, and re-formed the troops, pointed out all future objectives, and again led his battalion forward. Again badly wounded, he nevertheless continued to command until the second objective was won, and, after consolidation, collapsed from loss of blood. As there were numerous casualties, he refused assistance, and by his own efforts ultimately reached the Dressing Station.
His example of cool bravery stimulated in all ranks the highest valour and determination to win.
He was also awarded the CB, CMG, DSO & Bar, DL as well as a number of other decorations.
He is buried in Llanbadarn Fawr Cemetery, Ceredigion, Wales.
“No. 370995 Sjt. Alfred Joseph Knight, Lond.R. (Nottingham).
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion ..to duty during the operations against the enemy positions. Sjt. Knight did extraordinary good work, and showed exceptional bravery and initiative when his platoon was attacking an enemy strong point, and came under very heavy fire from an enemy machine gun. He rushed through our own barrage, bayonetted the enemy gunner, and. captured the position single-handed.
Later, twelve of the enemy with a machine gun, were encountered in a shellhole. He again rushed forward by himself bayonetted two and shot a third and caused the remainder to scatter.
Subsequently, during the attack on a fortified farm, when entangled up to his waist in mud, and seeing a number of the enemy firing on our troops, he immediately opened fire on them without waiting to extricate himself from the mud, killing six of the enemy.
Again, noticing the company on his right flank being held up in their attack on another farm, Sjt. Knight collected some men and took up a position on the flank of this farm, from where he brought a heavy fire to bear on the farm as a result of which the farm was captured.
All the platoon officers of the company had become casualties before the first objective was reached, and this gallant N.C.O. took command of all the men of his own platoon, and of the platoons without officers. His energy in consolidating and reorganising was untiring.
His several single-handed actions showed exceptional bravery, and saved a great number of casualties in the company. They were performed under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and without regard to personal risk, and were the direct cause of the objectives being captured.”
He is buried in Oscott Road Catholic Cemetery, New Oscott, Sutton Coldfield.
Alfred Wilcox (16/12/1884 – 30/03/1954) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the First World War.
The Citation reads:
“On 12 September 1918 near Laventie, France, when his company was held up by enemy machine-gun fire at short range, Lance-Corporal Wilcox rushed to the nearest enemy gun, bombing it and killing the gunner. Being then attacked by an enemy bombing party, the corporal picked up enemy stick bombs and led his company against the next gun, finally capturing and destroying it. Then, left with only one man he continued bombing and captured a third gun. Going up the trench, bombing as he went, he captured a fourth gun and then returned to his platoon.”
He is buried in St Peter and St Paul Cemetery, Aston, Birmingham.
“3719 Private Arthur Vickers, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
For most conspicuous .bravery on 25th September, 1915, during operations before Hulluch.
During an attack by his battalion on the first line German trenches, Private Vickers, on his- own initiative and with the utmost bravery, went forward in front of his company under, very heavy shell, rifle and machine-gun fire, and cut the wires which were holding up a great part of the. battalion. Although it was broad daylight at the time he carried out this work standing up. His gallant action contributed largely to the success of the assault.”
George Onions (02/03/1883 – 02/04/1944) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the First World War in 1918.
The Citation reads:
“On 22 August 1918 south of Achiet-le-Petit, France, Lance-Corporal Onions, having been sent out with one man to get in touch with the battalion on the right flank, saw the enemy advancing in large numbers. Seizing his opportunity, he boldly placed himself and his comrade on the flank of the advancing enemy and opened fire. When the enemy were about 100 yards from him the line wavered and some hands were thrown up, whereupon the lance-corporal rushed forward and helped by his comrade, took about 200 of the enemy prisoners and marched them back to his company commander”
He is buried in Quinton Cemetery in Birmingham.
George Onions VC.
02/03/1883 – 02/04/1944
Quinton Cemetery, Birmingham
“On 8 August 1917 in the Bay of Biscay, Atlantic, Lieutenant Bonner was with HMS Dunraven (one of the ‘Q’ or ‘mystery’ ships playing the part of an unobservant merchantman) when she was shelled by an enemy submarine. The lieutenant was in the thick of the fighting and throughout the whole of the action his pluck and determination had a considerable influence on the crew. Ernest Herbert Pitcher was also awarded the Victoria Cross in this action”.
He was cremated at Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh, and his ashes were interred at St Mary’s Churchyard, Aldridge, Staffordshire.
“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to Flight Sub-Lieutenant Reginald Alexander John Warneford, Royal Naval Air Service, for the conspicuous act of bravery specified below: —
For most conspicuous bravery on the 7th June, 1915, when he attacked and, singlehanded, completely destroyed a Zeppelin in mid-air. This brilliant achievement was accomplished after chasing the Zeppelin from the coast of Flanders to Ghent, where he succeeded in dropping his bombs on to it from a height of only one or two hundred feet. One of these bombs caused a terrific explosion which set the Zeppelin on fire from end to end, but at the same time overturned his Aeroplane and stopped the engine. In spite of this he succeeded in landing safely in hostile country, and after 15 minutes started his engine and returned to his base without damage.”
On 17 June 1915, Warneford received the award of the Légion d’honneur from the French Army Commander in Chief, General Joffre. Following a celebratory lunch, Warneford travelled to the aerodrome at Buc in order to ferry an aircraft for delivery to the RNAS at Veurne. Having made one short test flight, he then flew a second flight, carrying an American journalist, Henry Beach Newman, as passenger. During a climb to 200 feet, the right hand wings collapsed leading to a catastrophic failure of the airframe. Accounts suggest that neither occupant was harnessed and were both thrown out of the aircraft, suffering fatal injuries. In the case of Newman, death was instantaneous.