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.

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. 

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

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. 

Louis McGuffie VC

Louis McGuffie (15/03/1893 – 04/10/1918) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 28 September 1918 near Wytschaete, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 31067, Page: 14777, reads:

“No. 240693 Cpl. (A./Sjt.) Louis MoGuffie, late l/5th Bn., K.O.S.B. (T.F.) (Wigtown).

For most conspicuous bravery and resourceful leadership under heavy fire near Wytschaete on 28th September, 1918. During the advance to Piccadilly Farm, he, single-handed, entered several enemy dugouts and took many prisoners, and during subsequent operations dealt similarly with dugout after dugout, forcing one officer and twenty-five other ranks to surrender. During the consolidation of the first objective he pursued and brought back several of the enemy who were slipping away, and he was also instrumental in rescuing some British soldiers who were being led off as prisoners. Later in the day, when in command of a’ platoon, he led it with the utmost dash and resource, capturing many prisoners. This very gallant soldier was subsequently killed by a shell.”

He is buried in Zantvoorde British Cemetery, Belgium

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

Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson VC

Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson (18/02/1896 – 31/07/1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 31 July 1917 at Bellewaarde, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded by the London Gazette of 4 September 1917, Supplement: 30272 Page: 9260, reads:
“2nd Lt. (actg. Capt.) Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson, late North’n R.

For most conspicuous bravery, skilful leading, and determination in attack.

The tactical situation having developed contrary to expectation, it was not possible for his company to adhere to the original plan of deployment, and, owing to the difficulties of the ground and to enemy wire, Capt. Colyer-Fergusson found himself with a Serjeant and five men only. He carried out the attack nevertheless, and succeeded in capturing the enemy trench and disposing of the garrison. His party was then threatened by a heavy counter-attack from the left front, but this attack he successfully resisted.

During this operation, assisted by his Orderly only, he attacked and captured an enemy machine gun and turned it on the assailants, many of whom were killed and a large number were driven into the hands of an adjoining British unit. Later, assisted only by his Serjeant, he again attacked and captured a second enemy machine gun, by which time he had been joined by other portions of his company, and was enabled to consolidate his position. The conduct of this officer throughout forms an amazing record of dash, gallantry and skill, for which no reward can be too great having regard to the importance of the position won.

This gallant officer was shortly afterwards killed by a sniper.”

He is buried in the Menin Road South Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.

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

Alfred George Drake VC

Alfred George Drake (10/12/1893 – 23/11/1915) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 23 November 1915, near La Brique, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded by the London Gazette of Supplement: 29447, Page: 946 reads:

“No. 8/107 Corporal Alfred Drake, 8th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own).

For most conspicuous bravery on the night of 23rd November, 1915, near La Brique, France. He was one of a patrol of four which was reconnoitring towards the German lines. The patrol was discovered when close to the enemy, who opened heavy fire with rifles and a machine gun, wounding the Officer and one man. The latter was carried back by the last remaining man. Corporal Drake remained with his Officer and was last seen kneeling beside him and bandaging his wounds regardless of the enemy’s fire.

Later, a rescue party crawling near the German lines found the Officer and Corporal, the former unconscious but alive and bandaged, Corporal Drake beside him dead and riddled with bullets. He had given his own life and saved his Officer.”

He lost his life in the action and was buried in La Brique Military Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.

 © DRW 2017. Created 24/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions © 2001, first issued 1916. 

Eric Stuart Dougall VC, MC

Eric Stuart Dougall (13/04/1886 – 14/04/1918) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 10 April 1918 at Messines, Belgium.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30726, Page: 6571 reads:

“Lt (A /Capt) Eric Stuart Dougall, M C , late EFA (S R ).

For most conspicuous bravely and skilful leadership in the field when in command of his battery Captain Dougall maintained his guns in action from early morning throughout a heavy concentration of gas and high-explosive shell. Finding that he could not clear the crest owing to the withdrawal of our line, Captain Dougall ran his guns on to the top of the ridge to fire over open sights. By this time our infantry had been pressed back in line with the guns,  Captain Dougall at once assumed command of the situation, rallied and organised the infantry, supplied them with Lewis guns, and armed as many gunners as he could spare with rifles With these he formed a line in front of his battery which during this period was harassing the advancing enemy with a rapid late of fire.  Although exposed to both rifle and machine gun fire, this officer fearlessly walked about as though on parade, calmly giving orders and encouraging everybody He inspired the infantry with his assurance that “So long as you stick to your trenches I will keep my guns here” This line was maintained throughout the day, thereby delaying the enemy’s advance for over twelve hours.  In the evening, having expended all ammunition, the battery received orders to withdraw.  This was done by man-handling the guns over a distance of about 800 yards of shell-cratered country, an almost impossible feat considering the ground and the intense machine gun fire.

Owing to Captain Dougall’s personality and skillful leadership throughout this trying day there is no doubt that a serious breach in our line was averted This gallant officer was killed four days later whilst directing the fire of his battery.”

He is buried in Westoutre British Cemetery, Heuvelland, Belgium 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 24/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

James Llewellyn Davies VC

James Llewellyn Davies (16/03/1886 – 31/07/1917) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 31 July 1917 at Pilkem, Belgium. 

The Citation, recorded by the London Gazette on Supplement: 30272, Page: 9260 reads:

“No. 31161 Cpl. James Llewellyn Davies, late R. Welsh Fus. (Nantymoel, Glamorgan).

For most conspicuous bravery. During an attack on the enemy’s line, this non-commissioned officer pushed through our own barrage and, single handed, attacked a machine gun emplacement after several men had been killed in attempting to take it.

He bayoneted one of the machine gun crew and brought in another man, together with the captured gun.

Cpl. Davies, although wounded, then led a bombing party to the assault of a defended house, and killed a sniper who was harassing his platoon. This gallant non-commissioned officer has since died of wounds received during the attack.”

He is buried in Canada Farm Cemetery, Elverdinghe, Belgium.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 24/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.