Victoria Cross holders buried in cemeteries or commemorated on memorials in the Salient.

"It is ordained that the Cross shall only be awarded for most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy."

The Victoria Cross is the highest decoration that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

The VC was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1856 but was made retrospective to the Autumn of 1854 to cover the period of the Crimean War. There have been several amending warrants since then.

It can only be bestowed for actions "in the presence of the enemy" although from 1858 to 1881 an amendment allowed for awards "under circumstances of extreme danger". Six awards were made under these conditions.

The first presentation was made in Hyde Park on 26 Jun 1857 where Queen Victoria decorated 62 officers and men for actions during the Crimean War.

The VC has been bestowed 1354 times since 1854.

Each VC is still made by the same London jewelers, Messrs Hancocks (now of Burlington Gardens, London, W1) from the bronze of Chinese cannons captured from the Russians at the siege of Sebastopol (large ingots of which are stored at the Army's Central Ordnance Depot at Donnington).

There is a requirement for at least three witnesses, who must make sworn written statements as to the exact circumstances of the action involved.

Incredibly, it was not until 1920 that an official amendment was made allowing the VC to be awarded posthumously. Although when first instituted the original warrant made no mention to posthumous awards it had been decided from the very beginning that the VC would not be given for an act in which the potential recipient was killed, or where he died shortly after. In these circumstances an announcement was made in the London Gazette that had the person survived they would have been recommended for the VC and there were six instances of this between 1859 and 1897 although there would surely have been more put forward if there was a chance of receiving the VC. However, in 1900 the VC was awarded to F. Roberts although he died just over 24 hours after the act, and then two years later a further six were awarded. Finally, in 1907 the six instances between 1859 and 1897 were retrospectively awarded.

It is not just a British award, but also a Commonwealth one; it was extended to members of the Colonial Forces in New Zealand and other parts of the Empire in 1867 and to the officers and men of the Indian Army in 1911.

It has been estimated that the chance of surviving a Victoria Cross act is 1 in 10.

The youngest winners were 15 years old (A. Fitzgibbon and J.T. Cornwall). The oldest was 61 (W. Raynor).

There have been four instances where VCs have been won by brothers (for separate actions).

The term "gazetted" applies to the publishing of an individual's award in the London Gazette.

The ribbon was originally red for the Army and blue for the Royal Navy but when the Royal Air Force was formed in 1918 it was changed to red for all the services.

The VC can be bestowed by ballot, when the act of gallantry has been performed by a body of men (forty-six have been awarded).

Three men have won the VC twice (these receive an extra bar to their original cross), one a New Zealander.

The top units for awardees are the Royal Artillery with 51, the Royal Engineers with 41, and then the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Rifle Brigade with 27 each.

Three civilians have also been awarded the VC.

Since 1916 miniature VCs have been worn instead of the full-sized medals with evening dress or mess dress.

On the front of the VC reads the inscription "For Valour", and the hand engraved details of the recipient on the back (name, rank, number, unit and the date of the action).

When the VC was first instituted a special pension of 10 pounds per annum was made payable to all non-commissioned ranks. In July 1898 it was decided this amount might be increased in times of need, at discretion, to 50 pounds then later to 75 pounds. It was not until 1959 that the pension was allowed irrespective of rank and increased to 100 pounds. In 1995 it was increased to 1,300 pounds and at that time there were 33 recipients still alive.

In 1856 the Victoria Cross was the only way to reward acts of battlefield bravery whilst this century has seen the introduction of a wide range of lesser awards (in terms of the VC) for meritorious service or gallantry (the Distinguished Service Order DSO and Military Cross MC for officers and the Distinguished Conduct Medal DCM and the Military Medal MM for other ranks). These have been awarded for deeds which earlier might have merited a VC (for example the SAS Bravo Two Zero patrol in the Gulf War). It is worth remembering that many servicemen who merited the Victoria Cross never received it because their actions went unnoticed, or the witnesses were killed, or whose self-sacrifice resulted in a lonely death in an unmarked grave. This is true no matter what the nationality of the person and is the reason why the tomb of a nation's unknown warrior usually has the highest gallantry decoration bestowed upon it.

During the First World War there were 623 awards.
In Belgium alone there were 125 acts resulting in the award of the Victoria Cross, these were:-

ACKROYD, Harold 1917; Ypres, Belgium
ALEXANDER, Emest Wright 1914; Elouges, Belgium
BAMFORD, Edward 1918; Zeebrugge, Belgium
BARRATT, Thomas 1917; Ypres, Belgium


Private, 7th Bn., The South Staffordshire Regiment, British Army

 On 27 July 1917 north of Ypres, Belgium, Private Barratt, as a scout to a patrol, worked his way towards the enemy under continuous fire from hostile snipers, which he stalked and killed. Later his patrol was similarly held up and again he disposed of the snipers. When a party of the enemy were endeavouring to outflank the patrol on their withdrawal, Private Barratt volunteered to cover the withdrawal which he did, his accurate shooting causing many casualties and preventing the enemy advance. After safely regaining our lines this gallant soldier was killed by a shell.

BARRON, Colin Fraser 1917; Passchendaele, Belgium

Corporal, 3rd Bn., 1st Central Ontario Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force

 On 6 November 1917 at Passchendaele, Belgium, when his unit was held up by three machine-guns, Corporal Barren opened fire on them at point-blank range, rushed the guns, killed four of the crew and captured the remainder. He then turned one of the captured guns on the retiring enemy, causing severe casualties. This action produced far-reaching results and enabled the advance to continue.

BELCHER, Douglas Walter 1915; Wieltje-St. Julien Road, Belgium

Lance-Sergeant, 1/5th (City of London) Bn., The London Regiment (The London Rifle Brigade), British Army

 On 13 May 1915, south of the Wieltje-St. Julien Road, Belgium, Lance-Sergeant Belcher was in charge of a portion of an advanced breastwork during continuous bombardment by the enemy. The lance-sergeant, with very few men, elected to remain and try to hold his position after the troops near him had been withdrawn, and with great skill he succeeded in his objective, opening rapid fire on the enemy, who were only 150-200 yards away, whenever he saw them collecting for an attack. This bold action prevented the enemy breaking through and averted an attack on the flank of one of our divisions.

BELLEW, Edward Donald 1915; Kerselaere, Belgium

Lieutenant, 7th Bn. British Columbia Regiment Canadian Expeditionary Force

On 24 April 1915 near Kerselaere Belgium, the advance of the enemy was temporarily stayed by Lieutenant Bellew, the battalion machine-gun officer, who had two guns in action on high ground when the enemy's attack broke in full force. Reinforcements which were sent forward having been destroyed, and with the enemy less than 100 yards away and no further assistance in sight, Lieutenant Bellew and a sergeant decided to fight it out. The sergeant was killed and Lieutenant Bellew wounded, nevertheless, he maintained his fire until his ammunition failed, when he seized a rifle, smashed his machine-gun and, fighting to the last, was taken prisoner. Was later achieved rank of Captain

BENT, Philip Eric 1917; Polygon Wood, Belgium

T/Lieutenant Colonel, 9th Bn., The Leicestershire Regiment, British Army

 On 1 October 1917 east of Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium, when the situation was critical owing to the confusion caused by a heavy enemy attack and the intense artillery fire, Lieutenant Colonel Bent collected a platoon that was in reserve and together with men from other companies and various regimental details, he organised and led them forward to the counter-attack, which was successful and the enemy were checked. The coolness and magnificent example of the colonel resulted in the securing of a portion of the line essential to subsequent operation, but he was killed whilst leading a charge.

BENT, Spencer John 1914; Le Gheer, Belgium

BENT, Spencer John

Drummer, 1st Bn., The East Lancashire Regiment, British Army

 On the night of 1/2 November 1914 near Le Gheer, Belgium, when his officer, the platoon sergeant and a number of men had been struck down, Drummer Bent took command of the platoon and with great presence of mind and coolness succeeded in holding the position. He had previously distinguished himself on two occasions, on 22 and 24 October by bringing up ammunition under heavy shell and rifle fire. Again, on 3 November, he brought into cover some wounded men who were lying, exposed to enemy fire, in the open.


BIRKS, Frederick 1917; Ypres, Belgium

Second Lieutenant, 6th Bn. (Victoria), Australian Imperial Force 

On 20 September 1917 at Glencorse Wood, east of Ypres, Belgium, Second Lieutenant Birks, accompanied by a corporal, rushed a strong point which was holding up the advance. The corporal was wounded, but Second Lieutenant Birks went on alone, killed the remainder of the enemy and captured the machine-gun. Shortly afterwards he took a small party and attacked another strong point occupied by about 25 of the enemy killing some and capturing an officer and 15 men. His coolness and bravery inspired his men throughout these operations. He was fatally wounded whilst trying to rescue some of his men who had been buried by a shell.

BOURKE, Roland Richard Louis 1918; Ostend, Belgium

Lieutenant, 2nd Bn., The Gordon Highlanders.

On 29 October 1914 near Gheluvelt, Belgium, Lieutenant Brooke led two attacks on the German trenches under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, regaining a lost trench at a very critical moment. By his marked coolness and promptitude on this occasion, Lieutenant Brooke prevented the enemy from breaking through our line at a time when a general counter-attack could not have been organised. Having regained the lost trench, he went back to bring up supports, and while doing so, was killed.

BRADFORD, George Nicholson 1918; Zeebrugge, Belgium
BRODIE, Walter Lorrain 1914; Becelaere, Belgium
BROOKE, James Anson Otho 1914; Gheluvelt, Belgium

Lieutenant, 2nd Bn., The Gordon Highlanders, British Army

 On 29 October 1914 near Gheluvelt, Belgium, Lieutenant Brooke led two attacks on the German trenches under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, regaining a lost trench at a very critical moment. By his marked coolness and promptitude on this occasion, Lieutenant Brooke prevented the enemy from breaking through our line at a time when a general counter-attack could not have been organised. Having regained the lost trench, he went back to bring up supports, and while doing so, was killed.

BUGDEN, Patrick Joseph 1917; Zonnebeke, Belgium

31st Bn. (Q. and V.), Australian Imperial Force

During the period 26/28 September 1917 at Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium, an advance was held up by strongly defended pillboxes. Private Bugden despite devastating machine-gun fire twice led small parties against these strong points and, successfully silencing the guns, captured the enemy at the point of the bayonet. On another occasion, he rescued a corporal from capture, when, single-handed he rushed up, shot one of the enemy and bayoneted the other two. On five occasions he rescued wounded men under intense shell and machine-gun fire, showing an utter contempt and disregard for danger. He was killed during one of these missions.


BURMAN, William Francis 1917; Ypres, Belgium

Sergeant, 16th Bn., The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own), British Army

 On 20 September 1917 south-east of Ypres, Belgium, when the advance of his company was held up by a machine-gun at point-blank range, Sergeant Burman shouted to the men next to him to wait a few minutes and going forward to what seemed certain death killed the enemy gunner and carried the gun to the company's objective where he used it with great effect. Fifteen minutes later it was seen that about 40 of the enemy were enfilading the battalion on the right. Sergeant Burman and two others ran and got behind them, killing six and capturing two officers and 29 other ranks.

BYE, Robert James 1917; Yser Canal, Belgium

Sergeant, 1st Bn., Welsh Guards, British Army

 On 31 July 1917 at the Yser Canal, Belgium, during an attack, Sergeant Bye saw that the leading waves were being troubled by two enemy block-houses. He rushed at one of them and put the garrison out of action. He then rejoined his company and went forward to the second objective. Later he volunteered to take charge of a party detailed to clear up a line of block-houses which had been passed. He accomplished this, taking many prisoners, and then advanced to the third objective, again taking a number of prisoners. During the action he accounted for over 70 of the enemy.

CALDWELL, Thomas 1918; Audenarde, Belgium
CARMICHAEL, John 1917; Zwarteleen, Belgium
CARPENTER, Alfred Francis Blakeney 1918; Zeebrugge, Belgium
CHAVASSE, Noel Godfrey 

The only man to fall in the Great War to the VC and Bar, his headstone in Brandhoek New Military Cemetry is unique in that it has two Victoria Crosses carved upon it.

COFFIN, Clifford 1917; Westhoek, Belgium

COFFIN, Clifford

T/Brigadier General, Corps of Royal Engineers, British Army

 On 31 July 1917 at Westhoek, Belgium, when his command was held up in attack owing to heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, Brigadier-General Coffin went forward and made an inspection of his front posts. Although under the heaviest fire from both machine-guns and rifles and in full view of the enemy, he showed an utter disregard of personal danger, walking quietly from shell-hole to shell-hole, giving advice and cheering his men by his presence. His gallant conduct had the greatest effect on all ranks and it was largely owing to his personal courage and example that the shell-hole line was held.

COLVIN, Hugh 1917; Ypres, Belgium

Second Lieutenant, 9th Bn., The Cheshire Regiment, British Army

 On 20 September 1917 east of Ypres, Belgium, when all the other officers of his company and all but one in the leading company had become casualties, Second Lieutenant Colvin took command of both companies and led them forward under heavy fire with great success. He went with only two men to a dug-out, when he left the men on top, entered it alone and brought out 14 prisoners. He then proceeded to clear other dug-outs, alone or with only one man, capturing machine-guns, killing some of the enemy and taking a large number of prisoners.

COOPER, Edward 1917; Langemarck, Belgium


The battle fought in the summer of 1917 which is known in the official history books as Third Ypres, was a four month slog through mud and blood which achieved nothing except the death or wounding of 300,000 British troops and rather less than that number of Germans. But as in so many other campaigns the incompetence of the High Command was matched only by the heroism of the junior officers and men who had to carry out their orders. Over sixty VCs were won during Third Ypres. One of them was awarded to a dogged little sergeant named Edward Cooper who had already survived two years in the trenches and was now Second in Command of a platoon of thirty men of the King's Royal Rifle Corps. As they waded through the mud on the approaches to the shattered Belgian village of Langemarck, the advancing troops came up against a line of German pillboxes, which were almost impervious to artillery bombardment. Each block-house was equipped with two or more machine-guns and the British were caught in the interlocking fields of fire. Within minutes half the battalion were dead or wounded including Cooper's Platoon Commander. Shocked and angry Cooper picked up the dead officer's shiny new revolver and dashed into the attack against the nearest pillbox. Noticing that the machine guns were limited in their arc of fire he worked his way round to one side so that the fire of the bullets could not reach him, crept up close and fired the revolver down the barrel of one of the guns. Both machine guns were shot into silence. Cooper then marched around the back of the block-house and called on the enemy to surrender. Forty-five men with eight machine guns emerged and surrendered to him in full view of their comrades who were lining the trenches a few hundred metres away. When they realised what was going on the German troops in the trenches opened fire, missed Cooper and shot several of their own side. By the book, Cooper did everything wrong. He should have lobbed a bomb into the block-house, but he was a compassionate man and did not like to take life unnecessarily. When a senior officer arrived on the scene he abused Cooper for being off his line of advance, but eventually his achievement was recognised. On his own, armed only with a pistol, he had taken a position which could well have resisted an attack by a whole company. He was not sent on leave until 15 January 1918, nearly five months after the action in front of Langemarck, and when he left the front he still did not know anything about an award. It was not until he was sitting in a YMCA cafe at King's Cross railway station that he happened to see a newspaper carrying a list of the new VCs. The name of Chavasse caught his eye - Captain Noel Chavasse who had just won a Bar to his VC, one of only three men ever to do so and the poor man died shortly afterwards. Next in alphabetical order was Cooper.E. It was not until he had read and re-read the name and the regimental number that he realised that it was his own citation that he was reading. The small shy sergeant in the corner of the carriage said nothing, but when the train finally reached Darlington, where he had to change, Cooper was astonished to find his father and his elder brother waiting for him. Then, to his enormous embarrassment, a civic reception awaited him at Stockton-on-Tees. For thirty-five years he lived in modest obscurity until the Victoria Cross Association was formed in 1953 and someone hunted him down. Suddenly he was a hero all over again. On 24 July 1985 Edward Cooper VC was given the Freedom of Stockton but he died less than four weeks later on 19 August 1985.

COVERDALE, Charles Harry 1917; Poelcapelle, Belgium

Sergeant, 11th Bn., The Manchester Regiment, British Army

 On 4 October 1917 south-west of Poelcapelle, Belgium, when close to the objective, Sergeant Coverdale disposed of three snipers. He then rushed two machine-guns, killing or wounding the teams. He subsequently reorganised his platoon in order to capture another position, but after getting within 100 yards of it was held up by our own barrage and had to return. Later he went out again with five men to capture the position, but when he saw a considerable number of the enemy advancing, withdrew his detachment man by man, he himself being the last to retire.

CROWE, John James 1918; Neuve Eglise, Belgium
CRUTCHLEY, Victor Alexander Charles 1918; Ostend, Belgium
DANCOX, Frederick George 1917; Boesinghe Sector, Belgium

Private, 4th Bn., The Worcestershire Regiment, British Army

On 9 October 1917 at Boesinghe Sector, Belgium, after the first objective had been captured, work was considerably hampered by an enemy machine-gun firing from a concrete emplacement. Private Dancox who was one of a party of 10 detailed as moppers-up, managed to work his way through the barrage and entered the 'pill box' from the rear, threatening the garrison with a Mills bomb. Shortly afterwards he reappeared with a machine-gun under his arm and about 40 of the enemy. He brought the gun back to our position and kept it in action throughout the day. Killed In action, Near Masnieres, France - 30 Nov 1917

DAVIES, James Llewellyn 1917; Polygon Wood, Belgium

Corporal, 13th Bn., The Royal Welch Fusiliers, British Army

On 31 July 1917 at Polygon Wood, Pilkem, Belgium, during an attack on the enemy line, Corporal Davies, single-handed, attacked a machine-gun emplacement after several men had been killed in attempting to take it. He bayoneted one of the gun crew and brought in another, together with a captured gun. Then although wounded, he led a bombing party to the assault of a defended house and killed a sniper who was harassing his platoon. He died of his wounds the same day.

DEAN, Percy Thompson 1918; Zeebrugge, Belgium
DEASE, Maurice James 1914; Mons, Belgium
DIMMER, John Henry Stephen 1914; Klein Zillebeke, Belgium

Lieutenant, 2nd Bn., The King's Royal Rifle Corps, British Army

On 12 November 1914 at Klein Zillebeke, Belgium, Lieutenant Dimmer went on serving his machine-gun during an attack, and stayed at his post until the gun was destroyed, in spite of being shot five times. Killed In action, Marteville, France - 21 Mar 1918

DOUGALL, Eric Stuart 1918; Messines, Belgium

A/Captain, Special Reserve, Royal Field Artillery, British Army

On 10 April 1918 at Messines, Belgium, Captain Dougall, on the withdrawal of our line, ran his guns to the top of the ridge to fire over open sights. By now the infantry had been pressed back in line with the guns, so Captain Dougall supplied them with Lewis guns and armed some of his gunners with rifles. He managed to maintain the line throughout the day, thereby delaying the German advance for over 12 hours, and when his battery was at last ordered to withdraw, the guns were manhandled over half a mile of shell-cratered country under intense machine-gun fire. Killed In action, Kemmel, Belgium - 14 Apr 1918

DRAKE, Alfred George 1915; La Brique, Belgium

Corporal, 8th Bn., The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own), British Army

On 23 November 1915, near La Brique, Belgium, Corporal Drake was one of a patrol of four which was reconnotring towards the German lines. The patrol was discovered when close to the enemy who opened fire with rifles and machine-gun, wounding the officer and one of the men. The latter was carried back by the last remaining man and Corporal Drake stayed with his officer, bandaging his wounds regardless of the enemy's fire. Later, a rescue party found the officer, alive and bandaged, but the corporal was dead.

DRUMMOND, Geoffrey Heneage 1918; Ostend, Belgium
DUNKLEY, Bertram BEST 1917; Wieltje, Belgium
DWYER, Edward 1915; Hill 60, Belgium

DWYER, Edward

East Surrey Regiment

On 20 April 1915 at Hill 60, Belgium, when his trench was heavily attacked by German grenade-throwers, Private Dwyer climbed on to the parapet and although subjected to a hail of bombs at close quarters, succeeded in dispersing the enemy by the effective use of hand-grenades. Earlier in the day he had left his trench under heavy shellfire to bandage his wounded comrades.
DWYER, John James 1917; Zonnebeke, Belgium

Sergeant, 4th Coy., Machine Gun Corps, Australian Imperial Force

On 26 September 1917 at Zonnebeke, Belgium, Sergeant Dwyer, in charge of a Vickers machine-gun, during an advance, rushed his gun forward to within 30 yards of an enemy machine-gun, fired point blank at it and killed the crew. He then seized the gun and carried it back across shell-swept ground to our front line. On the following day, when the position was being heavily shelled, and his Vickers gun was blown up, he took his team through the enemy barrage and fetched a reserve gun which he put into use in the shortest possible time.

EDWARDS, Alexander 1917; Ypres, Belgium

Sergeant, 1/6th Bn., The Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, Duke of Albany's), British Army

On 31 July 1917 north of Ypres, Belgium, Sergeant Edwards located a machine-gun in a wood, led some men against it, captured the gun and killed all the team. Later, when a sniper was causing casualties, he stalked him and although badly wounded in the arm, went on and killed him. There being only one officer now left with the company, Sergeant Edwards, regardless of his wound, led his men on until the objective was captured. He continued to show great daring, particularly in personal reconnaissance and although again wounded twice the next day he still maintained a complete disregard for personal safety. Killed In action, East of Arras, France - 24 Mar 1918

EDWARDS, Wilfred 1917; Langemarck, Belgium

Private, 7th Bn., The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, British Army

On 16 August 1917 at Langemarck, Belgium, when all the company officers were lost, Private Edwards, without hesitation and under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire from a strong concrete fort, dashed forward at great personal risk, bombed through the loopholes, surmounted the fort and waved to his company to advance. Three officers and 30 other ranks were taken prisoner by him in the fort. Later he did most valuable work as a runner and eventually guided most of the battalion out through very difficult ground. Throughout he set a splendid example and was utterly regardless of danger.

EGERTON, Ernest Albert 1917; Ypres, Belgium

Corporal, 16th Bn., The Sherwood Foresters (The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment), British Army

On 20 September 1917 south-east of Ypres, Belgium, during an attack, visibility was bad owing to fog and smoke. As a result the two leading waves of the attack passed over certain hostile dug-outs without clearing them and enemy rifles and machine-guns from these dug-outs were inflicting severe casualties. Corporal Egerton at once responded to a call for volunteers to help in clearing up the situation and he dashed for the dug-outs under heavy fire at short range. He shot a rifleman, a bomber and a gunner, by which time support had arrived and 29 of the enemy surrendered.

EVANS, Lewis Pugh 1917; Zonnebeke, Belgium

A/Lieutenant Colonel, The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), British Army

On 4 October 1917 near Zonnebeke, Belgium, Lieutenant Colonel Evans took his battalion through a terrific enemy barrage, and while his troops were working round the flank of a machine-gun emplacement, rushed at it himself, firing his revolver through the loophole, and forcing the garrison to capitulate. Although severely wounded in the shoulder he refused to be bandaged and again led his battalion forward and was again wounded. Nevertheless he carried on until the next objective was achieved, and then collapsed. As there were numerous casualties he again refused assistance and managed unaided to reach the dressing station

FERGUSSON, Thomas Riversdale COLYER- 1917; Bellewaarde, Belgium
FINCH, Norman Augustus 1918; Zeebrugge, Belgium
FISHER, Frederick 1915; St. Julien, Belgium
Lance-Corporal, 13th Bn. Quebec Regiment (Royal Highlanders of Canada) Canadian Expeditionary Force 

On 23 April 1915 in the neighbourhood of St. Juliaan Belgium, Lance-Corporal Fisher went forward with the machine-gun of which he was in charge, under heavy fire, and covered the retreat of a battery, losing four of his gun team. Later, when he had obtained four more men, he went forward again to the firing line and was killed while bringing his machine-gun into action under very heavy fire. Killed in Action

FRICKLETON, Samuel 1917; Messines, Belgium

Lance-Corporal, 3rd Bn., New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade, New Zealand Expeditionary Force

On 7 June 1917 at Messines, Belgium, Lance-Corporal Frickleton, although slightly wounded, dashed forward at the head of his section, pushed into our barrage and personally destroyed with bombs an enemy machine-gun and crew which was causing heavy casualties. He then attacked a second gun killing all the crew of 12. By the destruction of these two guns he undoubtedly saved his own and other units from very severe casualties. During the consolidation of this position he received a second severe wound.

GEARY, Benjamin Handley 1915; Hill 60, Belgium

East Surrey Regiment

On 20 and 21 April 1915 on Hill 60 near Ypres, Belgium, Second Lieutenant Geary led his men across exposed open ground swept by fierce enemy fire to join survivors of the Bedfordshire Regiment in a crater at the top of the hill, which he held against artillery and bomb attacks during the evening and night. Each attack was repulsed mainly owing to the fine example and personal gallantry of Second Lieutenant Geary. He deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in order to see by the light of flares the whereabouts of the enemy. He was severely wounded early on 21 April.

GODLEY, Sidney Frank 1914; Mons, Belgium
GORLE, Robert Vaughan 1918; Ledeghem, Belgium

T/Lieutenant, 'A' Bty. 50th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, British Army

On 1 October 1918 at Ledeghem, Belgium, Lieutenant Gorle was in command of an 18-pounder gun working in close conjunction with the infantry. He brought his gun into action in the most exposed position on four separate occasions and disposed of enemy machine-guns by firing over open sights under direct fire. Later, when the infantry were driven back, he galloped his gun in front of the leading troops and twice knocked out enemy machine-guns which were causing the trouble. His disregard of personal safety was a magnificent example to the wavering line which rallied and re-took the northern end of the village.

GREAVES, Fred 1917; Poelcapelle, Belgium

A/Corporal, 9th Bn., The Sherwood Foresters (The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment), British Army

On 4 October 1917 at Poelcapelle, east of Ypres, Belgium, when the platoon was held up by machine-gun fire from a concrete stronghold and the platoon commander and sergeant were casualties, Corporal Greaves, followed by another NCO, rushed forward, reached the rear of the building and bombed the occupants, killing or capturing the garrison and the machine-gun. Later, at a most critical period of the battle, during a heavy counter-attack, all the officers of the company became casualties and Corporal Geaves collected his men, threw out extra posts on the threatened flank and opened up rifle and machine-gun fire to enfilade the advance

GRENFELL, Francis Octavus 1914; Audregnies, Belgium
GRIEVE, Robert Cuthbert 1917; Messines, Belgium

Captain, 37th Bn. (Victoria), Australian Imperial Force

On 7 June 1917 at Messines, Belgium, during an attack on the enemy's position, and after his own company had suffered very heavy casualties, Captain Grieve located two hostile machine-guns which were holding up his advance. Under continuous heavy fire from the two guns, he succeeded in bombing and killing the two gun crews, then reorganized the remnants of his own company and gained his original objective. Captain Grieve set a splendid example and when he finally fell, wounded, the position had been secured.

GRIMBALDESTON, William Henry 1917; Wijdendrift, Belgium
HALL, Frederick William 1915; Ypres, Belgium
Company Sergeant-Major 8th Manitoba Regiment Canadian Expeditionary Force 

On 24 April 1915, near Ypres, Belgium when a wounded man, who was lying some 15 yards from the trench, called for help, Company Sergeant-Major Hall endeavoured to reach him in the face of very heavy enfilade fire by the enemy. He then made a second most gallant attempt, and was in the act of lifting up the wounded man to bring him in when he fell mortally wounded in the head. Killed in the above action

HALLOWES, Rupert Price 1915; Hooge, Belgium

Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own)

Between 25 and 30 September 1915 at Hooge, Belgium, Second Lieutenant Hallowes set a magnificent example to his men during four heavy and prolonged bombardments. More than once he climbed upon the parapet, utterly regardless of danger in order to put fresh heart into his men. He made daring reconnaissance's of the German positions in our lines and when the supply of bombs was running short he went back under very heavy fire and brought up a fresh supply. Even when mortally wounded, he continued to cheer those round him and to inspire them with fresh courage.

HALTON, Albert 1917; Poelcapelle, Belgium

Private, 1st Bn., The King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, British Army

On 12 October 1917 near Poelcapelle, Belgium, after the objective had been reached, Private Halton rushed forward about 300 yards under very heavy fire and captured a machine-gun and its crew which was causing heavy losses to our men. He then went out again and brought in 12 prisoners, showing the greatest disregard for his own safety and setting a fine example to those round him.

HAMILTON, John Brown 1917; Ypres-Menin Road, Belgium

A/Lance-Corporal, 1/9th Bn., The Highland Light Infantry, British Army

On 25/26 September 1917 north of the Ypres-Menin Road, Belgium, great difficulty was experienced in keeping the front and support line supplied with small arm ammunition, owing to the intense artillery fire. At a time when this supply had reached a seriously low level, Lance-Corporal Hamilton on several occasions, on his own initiative, carried bondoliers of ammunition through the enemy's belts of fire and then, in full view of their snipers and machine-guns which were lying out in the front of our line at close range, he distributed the ammunition.

HARRISON, Arthur Leyland 1918; Zeebrugge, Belgium
HARVEY, Norman 1918; Ingoyghem, Belgium
HEWITT, Dennis George Wyldbore 1917; Ypres, Belgium

Second Lieutenant, 14th Bn., The Hampshire Regiment (later the Royal Hampshire Regiment), British Army

On 31 July 1917 north-east of Ypres, Belgium, when his first objective had been captured, Second Lieutenant Hewitt reorganised his company and moved forward. Whilst waiting for the barrage to lift, he was hit by a piece of shell which exploded the signal lights in his haversack and set fire to his equipment and clothes. He extinguished the flames and then, in spite of his wound and severe pain, he led forward the remnants of the company under a very heavy machine-gun fire and captured and consolidated his objective. He was subsequently killed by a sniper while inspecting the consolidation and encouraging his men.

HOLMES, Thomas William 1917; Passchendaele, Belgium

Private, 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, 2nd Central Ontario Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force

On 26 October 1917 near Passchendaele, Belgium, when the right flank of our attack was held up by heavy machine-gun fire from a pill-box stong point and heavy casualties were producing a critical situation, Private Holmes, on his own initiative and single-handed, ran forward and threw two bombs, killing and wounding the crews of two machine-guns. He then fetched another bomb and threw this into the entrance of the pill-box, causing the 19 occupants to surrender.

HUTT, Arthur 1917; Poelcapelle, Belgium

Private, 1/7th Bn., The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, British Army

On 4 October 1917 at Terrier Farm, south-east of Poelcapelle, Belgium, when all the officers and NCOs of No. 2 Platoon had become casualties, Private Hutt took command of and led the platoon. He was held up by a strong post but immediately ran forward alone and shot the officer and three men in the post; between 40 and 50 others surrendered. Later, having pushed too far, he withdrew his party, covering them by sniping the enemy, and then carried back a wounded man to shelter. After he had consolidated his position, he then went out and carried in four more wounded under heavy fire.

INWOOD, Reginald Roy 1917; Polygon Wood, Belgium

Private, 10th Bn. (S.A.), Australian Imperial Force

During the period 19/22 September 1917 in an attack at Polygon Wood, near Ypres, Belgium, Private Inwood moved forward alone through the allied barrage, capturing an enemy strong-point, killing several and taking nine prisoners. During the evening, he volunteered for a special all-night patrol which went out 600 yards in front of the allied line, and succeeded in bringing back valuable information. In the early morning of 21 September he again went out in company with another man and they located a machine-gun which was causing much trouble. They bombed it so effectively that only one gunner survived and he was brought in as a prisoner, with the gun.

JARVIS, Charles Alfred 1914; Jemappes, Belgium
JEFFRIES, Clarence Smith 1917; Passchendaele, Belgium

34th Bn., (N.S.W.), Australian Imperial Force

On 12 October 1917 at Passchendaele, Belgium, with a party of men he had organized, Captain Jeffries rushed a machine-gun emplacement, capturing four machine-guns and 35 prisoners. He then led his company forward under extremely heavy artillery barrage and enfilading machine-gun fire to the objective. Later, he again organized a successful attack on a machine-gun position, capturing two machine-guns and 30 more prisoners. He was killed during this second attack.

KENNY, William 1914; Ypres, Belgium

KENNY, William

Drummer, 2nd Bn., The Gordon Highlanders, British Army

On 23 October 1914 near Ypres, Belgium, Drummer Kenny rescued wounded men on five occasions under very heavy fire. Twice previously he had saved machine-guns by carrying them out of action, and on numerous occasions he conveyed urgent messages under very dangerous circumstances over fire-swept ground.

KHUDADAD KHAN 1914; Hollebeke, Belgium

Sepoy, 129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis, Indian Army

On 31 October 1914 at Hollebeke, Belgium, Sepoy Khudadad Khan was in the machine-gun section of his battalion and was working one of the two guns. The British officer in charge of the detachment was wounded and the other gun was put out of action by a shell. Sepoy Khudadad Khan, although himself wounded, continued working his gun after all the other five men of the detachment had been killed. He was left by the enemy for dead, but later managed to crawl away and rejoin his unit.

KINROSS, Cecil John 1917; Passchendaele, Belgium

KINROSS, Cecil John

Private, 49th Bn., Alberta Regiment, Canadian Expeditionary Force

On 30 October 1917 at Passchendaele, Belgium, shortly after the attack was launched, the company to which Private Kinross belonged came under heavy fire and further advance was held up by very severe fire from an enemy machine-gun. Private Kinross, after making a careful survey of the situation, deliberately divested himself of all his equipment except his rifle and bandolier and then advanced alone over open ground in broad daylight. He charged the enemy machine-gun, killing the crew of six and seized and destroyed the gun. His superb example and courage enabled a highly important position to be established.

KNIGHT, Alfred Joseph 1917; Ypres, Belgium

Sergeant, 2/8th (City of London) Bn., The London Regiment (Post Office Rifles), British Army

On 20 September 1917 at Alberta Section, Ypres, Belgium, when his platoon came under very heavy fire from an enemy machine-gun, Sergeant Knight rushed through our own barrage and captured it single-handed. He performed several other acts of conspicuous bravery single-handed, all under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire and without regard to personal safety. All the platoon officers of the company had become casualties before the first objective was reached, and this NCO took command not only of all the men of his own platoon but of the platoons without officers and his energy in consolidating and reorganising was untiring.

LIDDELL, John Aiden 1915; Ostend, Belgium
LISTER, Joseph 1917; Ypres, Belgium

Sergeant, 1st Bn., The Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army

On 9 October 1917 east of Ypres, Belgium, seeing that the advance of his company was held up by machine-gun fire from the direction of a pillbox, Sergeant Lister dashed ahead of his men and found the gun - he shot two of the gunners and the remainder surrendered. He then went to the pillbox and shouted to the occupants to surrender. They did so with the exception of one man whom the sergeant shot, whereupon about 100 of the enemy emerged from the shell-holes further to the rear and surrendered.

LOOSEMORE. ARNOLD 1917; Langemarck, Belgium

Private, 8th Bn., The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment, British Army

On 11 August 1917 south of Langemarck, Belgium, during the attack on a strongly held enemy position and his platoon having been held up by heavy machine-gun fire, Private Loosemore crawled through partially cut wire, dragging his Lewis gun with him and single-handed dealt with a strong party of the enemy, killing about 20 of them. Immediately afterwards his Lewis gun was destroyed and three of the enemy rushed at him, but he shot them with his revolver. Later he shot several enemy snipers, and on returning to the original post he brought back a wounded comrade under heavy fire.

LYNN, John 1915; Ypres, Belgium

Private, 2nd Bn. The Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army

On 2 May 1915 near Ypres, Belgium, 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 great effect against the enemy, and when he could not see them, he moved his gun higher up the parapet so that he could fire more effectively. This eventually checked any further advance and the outstanding courage displayed by this soldier had a great effect upon his comrades in the very trying circumstances. Private Lynn died later from the effects of gas poisoning. Killed in above action.

MARTIN, Cyril Gordon 1915; Spanbroek Molen, Belgium
MAYSON, Tom Fletcher 1917; Wieltje, Belgium
MCGEE, Lewis 1917; Ypres, Belgium
MCGREGOR, David Stuart 1918; Hoogemolen, Belgium
MCGUFFIE, Louis 1918; Wytschaete, Belgium
MCINTOSH, George Imlach 1917; Ypres, Belgium
MCKENZIE, Albert Edward 1918; Zeebrugge, Belgium
MCKENZIE, Hugh 1917; Meetscheele Spur, Belgium
MCNAIR, Eric Archibald 1916; Hooge, Belgium

         Royal Sussex Regiment

On 14 February 1916 near Hooge, Belgium, when the enemy exploded a mine, Lieutenant McNair and a number of men were flung into the air and many were buried. Although much shaken, the lieutenant at once organised a party with a machine-gun to man the near edge of the crater and opened rapid fire on the enemy who were advancing. They were driven back with many dead. Lieutenant McNair then ran back for reinforcements, but the communication trench being blocked he went across the open under heavy fire and held up the reinforcements the same way. His prompt and  plucky action undoubtedly saved a critical situation.

MELLISH, Edward Noel 1916; St. Eloi, Belgium
MIR DAST 1915; Wieltje, Belgium
MOFFAT, Martin 1918; Ledeghem, Belgium
MOLYNEUX, John 1917; Langemarck, Belgium
MOORE, Montague Shadworth Seymour 1917; Ypres, Belgium
MOORHOUSE, William Barnard RHODES- 1915; Courtrai, Belgium
MORROW, Robert 1915; Messines, Belgium
MOTTERSHEAD, Thomas 1917; Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium

Sergeant, 20 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps

On 7 January 1917 near Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium, Sergeant Mottershead was on flying patrol when he was attacked at an altitude of 9,000ft, the petrol tank pierced and the machine set on fire. Enveloped in flames which his observer was unable to subdue, the sergeant nevertheless managed to take his aircraft back to the Allied lines and made a successful landing. The undercarriage collapsed on touching the ground however, throwing the observer clear but pinning the pilot in his cockpit. He was subsequently rescued but died four days later.

MOYNEY, John 1917; Broembeek, Belgium
MULLIN, George Harry 1917; Passchendaele, Belgium
NICHOLAS, Henry James 1917; Polderhoek, Belgium
OCKENDEN, James 1917; Langemarck, Belgium
O'KELLY, Christopher Patrick John 1917; Passchendaele, Belgium
O'NEILL, John (or O'NIELL) 1918; Moorseele, Belgium
PEARKES, George Randolph 1917; Passchendaele, Belgium
PEELER, Walter 1917; Ypres, Belgium
RATCLIFFE, William 1917; Messines, Belgium
REES, Ivor 1917; Pilkem, Belgium
RENDLE, Thomas Edward 1914; Wulverghem, Belgium
REYNOLDS, Henry 1917; Frezenberg, Belgium
RHODES, John Harald 1917; Houthulst Forest, Belgium
RICKETTS, Thomas 1918; Ledeghem, Belgium
ROBERTSON, Charles Graham 1918; Polderhoek Chateau, Belgium
ROBERTSON, Clement 1917; Zonnebeke, Belgium
ROBERTSON, James Peter 1917; Passchendaele, Belgium
ROOM, Frederick George 1917; Frezenberg, Belgium
ROUPELL, George Rowland Patrick 1915; Hill 60, Belgium

East Surrey Regiment,

On 20 April 1915 at Hill 60, Belgium, Lieutenant Roupell was commanding a company which was being subjected to a most severe bombardment. Although wounded several times, he remained at his post and led his company in repelling a strong German assault. During a lull he had his wounds dressed but immediately returned to his trench which was again being fiercely bombarded. Towards evening he went back to battalion headquarters and fetched reinforcements, passing backwards and forwards over ground swept by heavy fire. With these reinforcements, he was able to hold his position throughout the night and until relieved next morning.

SAGE, Thomas Henry 1917; Ypres, Belgium
SANDFORD, Richard Douglas 1918; Zeebrugge, Belgium
SCRIMGER, Francis Alexander Caron 1915; St. Julien, Belgium

Captain, Canadian Army Medical Corps Canadian Expeditionary Force
attd. 14th Bn., (Royal Montreal Regiment), C.E.F.

On 25 April 1915 at St. Julien Belgium, Captain Scrimger was in charge of an advanced dressing station. He directed the removal of the wounded under heavy fire and carried a wounded officer out of a stable in search of a place of greater safety. When he was unable to carry him any further, he remained with the wounded man until help could be obtained. 
SEAMAN, Ernest 1918; Terhand, Belgium
SHANKLAND, Robert 1917; Passchendaele, Belgium
SKINNER, John 1917; Wijdendrift, Belgium
SMITH, Issy 1915; St. Julien, Belgium

A/Corporal, 1st Bn. The Manchester Regiment British Army 

On 26 April 1915 at St. Juliaan, Belgium, Corporal Smith left his company on his own initiative and went forward towards the enemy's position to help a severely wounded man, whom he carried a distance of 250 yards into safety. When casualties were very heavy later in the day Corporal Smith again displayed great gallantry in helping to bring in more wounded men and attending them, regardless of personal risk. Later achieved rank of Sergeant.

VALLENTIN, John Franks 1914; Zillebeke, Belgium
WARNEFORD, Reginald Alexander John 1915; Ghent, Belgium
WARNER, Edward 1915; Ypres, Belgium
WHITHAM, Thomas 1917; Pilkem, Belgium
WOODCOCK, Thomas 1917; Broenbeek, Belgium
WOODROFFE, Sidney Clayton 1915; Hooge, Belgium

Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

On 30 July 1915 at Hooge, Belgium, when the enemy had broken through the centre of our front trenches, Second Lieutenant Woodroffe's position was heavily attacked with bombs from the flank and ubsequently from the rear, but he managed to defend his post until all his bombs were exhausted. He then skillfully withdrew his remaining men and immediately led them forward in a counter-attack under intense rifle and machine-gun fire, and was killed whilst in the act of cutting the wire obstacles in the open.

WOOLLEY, Geoffrey Harold 1915; Hill 60, Belgium

London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles),

During the night of 20/21 April 1915 on Hill 60, Belgium, Second Lieutenant Woolley was the only officer on the hill at the time, but with very few men he successfully resisted all attacks on his trench, and continued throwing bombs and encouraging his men until relieved. His trench during all this time was being heavily shelled and bombed.

WRIGHT, Theodore 1914; Mons, Belgium
YOUENS, Frederick 1917; Hill 60, Belgium


On 7 July 1917 near Hill 60 Belgium, it was reported that the enemy were preparing to raid our trenches and Second Lieutenant Youens, who had already been wounded, immediately set out to rally a Lewis gun team which had become disorganised, While doing this an enemy bomb fell on the Lewis gun position without exploding. The second lieutenant picked it up and hurled it over the parapet, but soon after another bomb fell near the same place and again he picked it up, but it exploded in his hand, severely wounding him and some of his men. This gallant officer later succumbed to his wounds.

Words to song "Over There"

Over There

Say a prayer

Send the word

Send the word

To beware.

It will be over

We're coming over

And we won't come back

Till it's over

Over There


Johnnie get your gun

Get your gun, get your gun

Back in town to run

Home to run, home to run

Hear them calling you and me

Every son of liberty

Hurry right away

Don't delay go today

Make your daddy glad

To have had such a lad

Tell your sweetheart not to pine

To be proud their boy's in line.


The Watch on the Rhine

There sounds a call like thunder's roar,

Like the crash of swords, like the surge of waves.

To the Rhine, the Rhine, the German Rhine!

Who will the stream's defender be?

Dear Fatherland, rest quietly.

Sure stands and true the watch,

The watch on the Rhine.


To heaven he gazes. Spirits of heroes look down.

He vows with proud battle-desire:

O Rhine! You will stay as German as my breast!

Dear Fatherland, rest quietly.

Sure stands and true the watch,

The watch on the Rhine.


Even if my heart breaks in death,

You will never be French.

As you are rich in water

Germany is rich in hero's blood.

Dear Fatherland, rest quietly.

Sure stands and true the watch,

The watch on the Rhine.


So long as a drop of blood still glows,

So long as a hand the dagger can draw,

So long an arm the rifle can hold -

Never will an enemy touch your shore.

Dear Fatherland, rest quietly.

Sure stands and true the watch,

The watch on the Rhine.

Back To Home Page