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

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. 

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.

 

Frederick Youens VC

Frederick Youens (14/08/1892 – 07/07/1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 7 July 1917 near Hill 60, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30215, Page: 7906, reads:

“L.I. For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.

While out on patrol this officer was wounded and had to return to his trenches to have his wounds dressed. Shortly afterwards a report came in that the enemy were preparing to raid our trenches. 2nd Lt. Youens, regardless of his wound, immediately set out to rally the team of a Lewis Gun, which had become disorganised owing to heavy shell fire. During this process an enemy’s bomb fell on the Lewis Gun position without exploding. 2nd Lt. Youens immediately picked it up and hurled it over the parapet. Shortly afterwards another bomb fell near the same place; again 2nd Lt. Youens picked it up with the intention of throwing it away, when it exploded in his hand, severely wounding him and also some of his men. There is little doubt that the prompt and . gallant action of 2nd Lt. Youens saved several of his men’s lives and that by his energy and resource the enemy’s raid was completely repulsed.

This gallant officer has since succumbed to his wounds.”

He is buried in Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Belgium.

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

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.

John Kendrick Skinner VC, DCM

John Kendrick Skinner (05/02/1883 – 17/03/1918) was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Battle of Passchendaele on 18 August 1917 at Wijdendrift, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded by the London Gazette of 14 September 1917, Supplement: 30284, Page: 9533, reads:

No, 6895 Sjt. (Actg. C.S./M.) John Skinner, K.O. Sco. Bord. (Pollokshields, Glasgow.)

For most conspicuous bravery and good leading.

Whilst his company was attacking, machine gun fire opened on the Left flank, delaying the advance. Although C.S./M. Skinner was wounded in the head, he collected six men, .and with great courage and determination worked round the left flank of three blockhouses from which the machine gun fire was coming, and succeeded in bombing and taking the first blockhouse single-handed; then, leading his six men towards the other two blockhouses, he skilfully cleared them, taking sixty prisoners, three machine guns, and two trench mortars. The dash and gallantry displayed by this warrant officer enabled’ the objective to be reached.” 

He was killed in action at Vlamertinghe, Belgium, on 17 March 1918, and is buried Vlamertinghe New Miliitary Cemetery, Belgium.

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

Donald Mackintosh VC

Donald Mackintosh (07/02/1896 – 11/04/1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 11 April 1917 north of Fampoux, France.

The Citation reads:

“On 11 April 1917 north of Fampoux, France, during the initial advance, Lieutenant Mackintosh was shot through the right leg, but although crippled, continued to lead his men, and captured the trench.

He then collected men of another company who had lost their leader and drove back a counter-attack, when he was again wounded and although unable to stand, nevertheless continued to control the situation.

With only 15 men left he ordered them to be ready to advance to the final objective and with great difficulty got out of the trench, encouraging them to advance. He was wounded yet again and fell

The gallantry and devotion to duty of this officer were beyond all praise.”

Lieutenant Donald Mackintosh was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery and he is buried in Brown’s Copse Cemetery, Roeux, France.

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

John Lynn VC, DCM

John Lynn (1887 – 03/05/1915) while serving as a private in the 2nd Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 2 May 1915 near Ypres, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 29210, Page: 6270, reads: 

“No. 1272 Private John Lynn, 2nd Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers.

For most conspicuous bravery near Ypres on 2nd May, 1915. When the Germans were advancing behind their wave of asphyxiating gas, Private Lynn, although almost overcome by the deadly fumes, handled his machine gun with very great effect against the enemy, and when he could not see them he moved his gun higher up on the parapet, which enabled him to bring even more effective fire to bear, and eventually checked any further advance.

The great courage displayed by this soldier had a fine effect on his comrades in the very trying circumstances.

He died the following day from the effects of gas poisoning”

He is buried in Grootbeek Cemetery, Belgium. His grave is inscribed “Who was buried at the time in Vlamertinghe but whose grave was destroyed in later battles. “

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 25/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green

William Henry Johnston VC

William Henry Johnston (21/12/1879 – 08/06/1915) was awarded the Victoria Cross for an act of bravery that he performed on 14 September 1914 during the “Race to the Sea” at Missy, France.  

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 28985, Page: 9958, reads:

“Captain William Henry Johnston, Royal Engineers.

At Missy on 14th September under a heavy fire all day until 7 p.m., worked with his own hand two rafts bringing back wounded and returning with ammunition; thus enabling advanced Brigade to maintain its position across the river.”

Having achieved the rank of Major, William Johnston VC, was killed in action at Ypres on 8 June 1915. He is buried at Perth Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 25/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green

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.