Three incredible VC winners’ stories

Studio portrait of a Victoria Cross medal, showing obverse and reverse sides. Image © IWM (H 60)

Studio portrait of a Victoria Cross medal, showing obverse and reverse sides. Image © IWM (H 60)

Ahead of the launch of a brand new government project commemorating First World War Victoria Cross winners, we take a closer look at some of their incredible life stories.

Starting tomorrow, The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launch a brand new project commemorating the lives of First World War Victoria Cross winners by placing paving stones in or near their birth place. The first five paving stones will be laid on the 23 August for:

Using the records on Lives of the First World War we were able to piece together the life stories of the first three. Could you help us uncover more about their lives?

Private Sidney Frank Godley VC

A portrait photo of Sidney. Image Q 80449.

A portrait photo of Sidney. Image Q 80449.

Sidney was born on 14 August 1889 in East Grinstead, West Sussex. After leaving school, Sidney worked at an ironmonger’s in Kilburn before joining the Royal Fusiliers in 1909. Within days of the outbreak of war, Sidney was sent to Mons in Belgium.nike air max 90 hufquake

On 23 August 1914 the Royal Fusiliers received the order to hold two bridges over the Mons-Condé Canal, Belgium. This would allow the other units to retreat to the River Marne. Sidney was in the section defending Nimy Railway Bridge. After his commander was wounded and unable to continue, Sidney defended the bridge by himself.

According to his Victoria Cross citation, Sidney displayed ‘…coolness and gallantry in fighting his machine gun under a hot fire for two hours after he had been wounded at Mons on 23rd August.’

Did someone from your family serve alongside Sidney? Find out more on his life story page.

Corporal Charles Ernest Garforth VC

Charles Ernest Garforth, pictured with his wife Lilian. Image © IWM (HU 48670).

Charles Ernest Garforth, pictured with his wife Lilian. Image © IWM (HU 48670).

Charles Ernest Garforth was born in London on 23 October 1891. In 1912, aged 21, he enlisted in the 15th Hussars as a trooper. He served with the regiment in South Africa before returning to England in 1913.

Sent to France in mid-August 1914, Garforth distinguished himself during the first battles of the First World War. His Victoria Cross citation reads:

‘At Harmignies on 23rd August [Charles] volunteered to cut wire under fire which enabled his squadron to escape. At Dammartin he carried a man out of action. On 3rd September, when under maxim fire, he extricated a sergeant whose horse had been shot, and by opening fire for 3 minutes enabled the sergeant to get away safely.’

Charles was captured in October that year, and was a Prisoner of War until the end of the war, when he was finally awarded his Victoria Cross. In 1919 Charles married Lilian Hay, and he retired from the Army in 1922 with the rank of sergeant.shoes new balance

Charles’ Victoria Cross is now on display at IWM London. Find out more about Charles on his life story page.

Maurice James Dease

Lieutenant Maurice James Dease. Image © IWM (Q 70451).

Lieutenant Maurice James Dease. Image © IWM (Q 70451).

Maurice was born on 28 September 1889 in County Westmeath, Ireland. After being educated in Hampstead and Lancashire, Maurice attended Army College in Wimbledon, and the Royal Military College in Sandhurst.

Maurice was 24 years old at the start of the First World War, and had already reached the rank of Lieutenant.

On 23 August 1914 the Royal Fusiliers received the order to hold two bridges over the Mons-Condé Canal, Belgium. This would allow the other units to retreat to the River Marne.

According to Maurice’s Victoria Cross citation:

‘Though two or three times badly wounded he continued to control the fire of his machine guns at Mons on 23rd August until all his men were shot. He died of his wounds.’

Maurice attended the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, could you help us to uncover more about some of the officers that might have trained with him? Find out more about Maurice on his life story page.

Many other men were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War for equally courageous acts. Could you help us to uncover more about their life stories?

 

This entry was posted in Life Stories, News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *