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Victoria Cross

ANDERSON, William Herbert

1918 - Bois Favieres, France - The 12th and 18th H.L.I. went into action at Hardecourt, after two nights in the train and a seventeen mile march. A defensive position had been formed between Hardecourt and the Somme and on it, during March 24 and 25, 'the 35th Division put up a magnificent fight against five German Divisions'. During this fighting Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Anderson, commanding the 12th H.L.I., led a bayonet charge against the masses of advancing enemy and drove them back nearly a mile. He had already distinguished himself by leading a counter-attack which secured seventy prisoners and twelve machine-guns, and so was awarded the VC - posthumous, for he had fallen at the head of his battalion.

An extract from the "London Gazette," dated 30th April, 1918, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery, determination, and gallant leading of his command. The enemy attacked on the right of the battalion frontage and succeeded in penetrating the wood held by our men. Owing to successive lines of the enemy following on closely there was the greatest danger that the flank of the whole position would be turned. Grasping the seriousness of the situation, Colonel Anderson made his way across the open in full view of the enemy now holding the wood on the right, and after much effort succeeded in gathering the remainder of the two right companies. He personally led the counter-attack and drove the enemy from the wood, capturing twelve machine guns and seventy prisoners, and restoring the original line. His conduct in leading the charge was quite fearless and his most splendid example was the means of rallying and inspiring the men during the most critical hour. Later on the same day, in another position, the enemy had penetrated to within three hundred yards of the village and were holding a timber yard in force. Colonel Anderson reorganised his men after they had been driven in and brought them forward to a position of readiness for a counterattack. He led the attack in person and throughout showed the utmost disregard for his own safety. The counter-attack drove the enemy from his position, but resulted in this very gallant officer losing his life. He died fighting within the enemy's lines, setting a magnificent example to all who were privileged to serve under him."

From Commonwealth War Graves: WILLIAM HERBERT ANDERSON VC - Lieutenant Colonel 12th Bn., Highland Light Infantry

who died on Monday, 25th March 1918. Age 36. Son of W. J. Anderson, C.B.E., of Strathairly, Largo, Fife, husband of Gertrude Campbell Anderson, of 23, Abingdon Court, Kensington, London. PERONNE ROAD CEMETERY, MARICOURT, Somme, France

ANGUS, William

1915 - Givenchy, France

BLAKER, Frank Gerald

1944 - Taunghi, Burma (now Myanmar)

BRODIE, Walter Lorrain

1914 - Becelaere, Belgium - Lieutenant W. L. Brodie won a VC for the 74th in what he described as 'a bit of a scrap'. The Germans attacking suddenly had overrun his two machine-guns, whereupon he seized a rifle and killed nine of them, five with the bullet and four with the bayonet. He then got one of the guns into action just as an H.L.I. company charged in using bayonets, butts, boots and fists. By the end of it there were eighty Germans dead on the field, and fifty-four prisoners. The 74th lost fifteen killed and twenty-six wounded in this affair.

EDWARDS, William Mordaunt Marsh

1882 - Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt - for the gallantry with which he led his platoon into an enemy redoubt. 

HAMILTON, John Brown

1917 -  Ypres-Menin Road, Belgium

HORE-RUTHVEN, Alexander Gore Arkwright (The Hon.)

1898 - Gedarif, Sudan

HUNTER, David Ferguson

1918 - Moeuvres, France

KENNEDY, Charles Thomas

1900 - Dewetsdorp, South Africa

LUMSDEN, Frederick William 

1917 - The 15th H.L.I. captured a battery of six guns before Selency, in an action in which Major F. W. Lumsden, commanding the 17th H.L.I., received the VC. 

An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 30122, dated 8th June, 1917, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery, determination and devotion to duty. Six enemy field guns having been captured, it was necessary to leave them in dug-in positions, 300 yards in advance of the position held by our troops. The enemy kept the captured guns under heavy fire. Maj. Lumsden undertook the duty of bringing the guns into our lines. In order to effect this, he personally led four artillery teams and a party of infantry through the hostile barrage. As one of these teams sustained casualties, he left the remaining teams in a covered position, and, through very heavy rifle, machine gun and shrapnel fire, led the infantry to the guns. By force of example and inspiring energy he succeeded in sending back two teams with guns, going through the barrage with the teams of the third gun. He then returned to the guns to await further teams, and these he succeeded in attaching to two of the three remaining guns, despite rifle fire, which had become intense at short range, and removed the guns to safety. By this time the enemy, in considerable strength, had driven through the infantry covering points, and blown up the breach of the remaining gun. Maj. Lumsden then returned, drove off the enemy, attached the gun to a team and got it away."

From Commonwealth War Graves: FREDERICK WILLIAM LUMSDEN CB, DSO and 3 Bars, VC

Brigadier General Commanding 14th Bde., Royal Marine Artillery who died on Tuesday, 4th June 1918. Age 45.

RODGERS, George 71st Foot

1858 - Marar, India - The first Victoria Cross awarded to the Highland Light Infantry was won in an action at Morar on June 16, 1858, by Private George Rodgers, who attacked and worsted seven rebels single-handed, killing six and taking one prisoner. His recommendation came from General Nicholson, who witnessed the incident. Like many other regiments at the time, the fist disliked the idea of making special awards for gallantry in action, and declined to put any names forward. It was apparently felt-by all ranks that to single out an individual as having been particularly brave was to hold the honour cheap of all his comrades. In this instance, General Nicholson had also wished to recommend Sergeant Ewing, who ran to the help of one of his officers who was surrounded by the enemy, and saved his life by a skilful use of the bayonet. His selfless courage certainly equalled that of Private Rodgers, but it seems that the rank and file protested that Ewing `had done nothing more than his plain duty', whereas they grudgingly admitted that Rodgers' conduct was, possibly, a little out of the ordinary.

SHAUL, John David Francis

1899 - Magersfontein, South Africa - for leading an advance across the open and saving many wounded men under close-range fire.

TURNBULL, James Youll

1916 - Authuille, France - The Battle of the Somme was, in fact, a series of battles, commencing with the Battle of Albert. It was fought to gain possession of one of the strongest parts of the German line, known as the Leipzig Redoubt, and the 15th, 16th and 17th H.L.I., in the trenches before Thiepval, all went into the attack. The 16th H.L.I. came up against intact wire, untouched by the bombardment, and lost nineteen officers and 492 rank and file within a few hours. The 17th H.L.I. had more luck, and carried the Redoubt itself but, when pressing on, they lost twenty-two officers and 447 rank and file on the second line. Retiring to the Leipzig Redoubt, they held it against repeated counter-attacks, during which Sergeant James Turnbull displayed such exceptional valour as to be awarded the V.C. - posthumously.

An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 29836, dated 24th Nov., 1916, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty, when, having with his party captured a post apparently of great importance to the enemy, he was subjected to severe counter-attacks, which were continuous throughout the whole day. Although his party was wiped out and replaced several times during the day, Sergeant Turnbull never wavered in his determination to hold the post, the loss of which would have been very serious. Almost, single-handed, he maintained his position, and displayed the highest degree of valour and skill in the performance of his duties. Later in the day this very gallant soldier was killed whilst bombing a counter-attack from the parados of our trench."

From Commonwealth War Graves: JAMES YUILL TURNBULL VC - Sergeant 15888 17th Bn., Highland Light Infantry who died on Saturday, 1st July 1916. Age 32. Son of James and Elizabeth Turnbull of Glasgow. LONSDALE CEMETERY, AUTHUILE, Somme, France.

WILSON, George

1914 - Verneuil Ridge, France - first VC for the 74th in the war was won by a reservist, Private George Wilson,  who slaughtered an enemy machine-gun team of an officer and six men, and captured the gun all by himself.


Wednesday, 13 December, 2006 15:37

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