MANCHESTER REGIMENT VC. HOLDERS.
The Victoria Cross is the highest award for valor that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces of any rank in any service and civilians under military command.
The Victoria Cross was created by Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria in 1854 to recognize acts of valor during the Crimean War of 1854-1855.
All Victoria Crosses are cast from the bronze of two cannons captured during the Crimean War. The medal is a Maltese cross, bearing a crown surmounted by a lion, and the inscription
"For Valor". The ribbon is deep crimson
During the First World War, 634 VCs were awarded; the Manchesters were awarded 2 in South Africa and 12 in WW1.
THE BOER WAR SOUTH AFRICA 1899-1902
1st BATTALION 6 JANUARY 1900 NATAL
PTE JAMES PITTS AND PTE ROBERT SCOTT
London Gazette 26-July-1901 joint citation reads
Attack on Caesars camp on the 6-Jan-1900 these two occupied a sanger, on the left of which all our men had been shot down and their positions occupied by Boers they held their post for fifteen hours without food or water and all the time under extremely heavy fire, keeping up their fire and a smart lookout, through the Boers occupied some of the sangers on the immediate left rear, Private Scott was wounded. The medals were presented by Lord Kitchener on June 8th 1902, at Pretori
JAMES PITTS was born 26-Feb- Died 18-Feb-1955 Blackburn
Grave Whalley new rd cemetery Blackburn
Robert Scott was born 4-June-1874 Haslingden
Died 16-Sept-1962 Downpatrick co Down
Grave Christchurch cemetery Kilkeel co Dow
PTE PITTS PTE SCOTT
WW1 29-OCT-1914 JOINT CITATION near FESTUBERT
2/LIEUTENANT JAMES EDGAR LEACH
SERGEANT 9016 JOHN HOGAN
LG 22-Dec-1914 Citation reads
A heavy bombardment preceded an attack by a German force directed against the 2nd Manchesters and the DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT Despite capturing a trench line, the Germans were unable to capitalise due to the actions of a platoon commanded by Second-Lieutenant JAMES EDGAR LEACH In the process of their methodical retaking of the trench, the party killed eight, wounded two and captured 14 soldiers For their contribution to the defence of the Manchesters' trenches, Second-Lieutenant Leach and Sergeant JOHN HOGAN were awarded the Victoria Cross.
James Edgar Leach was born 27-July-1892 North Shields
Died 15-aug-1958 Shepherds Bush London
John Hogan was born 8-Apr-1884 Royton Oldham
Died 6-oct-1943 Oldham
Lt James E Leach Sgt John Hogan
Before the arrival of the 1st Battalion from India, the 2nd Manchesters embarked for France with the5th division in August 1914 and contributed to the rearguard actions that supported the British Expeditionary Force's retreat following the Battle of Mons Engaged in the battles of Marne, the Aisne, and First Ypres the 2nd Manchesters was the sole representative of the regiment until October and the arrival of the Indian Corps, comprising two infantry divisions and cavalry. Each brigade contained a constituent British battalion, the 1st Manchesters being the Jullundur's.
Having been briefly attached to French cavalry, the 1st Battalion occupied trenches near Festubert on26 October. Three-days later, a heavy bombardment preceded an attack by a German force directed against the 2nd Manchesters and Devonshire regiment. Despite capturing a trench line, the Germans were unable to capitalise due to the actions of a platoon commanded by Second-Lieutenant JAMES LEACH In the process of their methodical retaking of the trench, the party killed eight, wounded two and captured 14 soldiers. For their contribution to the defence of the Manchesters' trenches, Second-Lieutenant Leach and Sergeant JOHN HOGAN were awarded the Victoria Cross.
WW1 26-APR-1915 WIELTJE YPRES BELGUIM
1st BATTALION A/CPL 168 ISSY SMITH
LG 23-Aug-1915 Citation reads
Smith was engaged in the Second Battle of YPRES On 26 April 1915, Smith, on his own initiative, recovered wounded soldiers while exposed to sustained fire and attended to them "with the greatest devotion to duty regardless of personal risk". His conduct secured a recommendation for the Victoria Cross, which was awarded to Smith in August 1915
He Was a British-Australian recipient of the VC the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to eligible forces of the COMMONWEALTH and UNITED KINGDOM Smith, the first living Jewish recipient of the Victoria Cross, was also awarded the French CROIX de GUERRE (with palm) and Russian Cross of St George (4th class).
Born Ishroulch Shmeilowitz to parents residing in Egypt, Smith travelled to Britain as a child stowaway and first volunteered to serve in the British Army in 1904. He emigrated to Australia after discharge, where he remained until mobilised as a reservist in 1914. As a corporal in the 1st Battalion, The Manchester Regiment
Born 16-Sept-1890 Alexandria Egypt
Died 10-Sept-1940 Melbourne Australia
Grave Fawkner Cemetery Melbourne
A/CPL ISSY SMITH
On the morning of 26 April 1915, the Lahore Division assembled between the Ieper-Langemark road on the left and Wieltje on the right, some 600 yards north of la Brique. The Ferozepore Brigade moved to its position through Vlamertinge, but the Jullundur Brigade went to Wieltje by the road winding along the Ypres ramparts. There they were caught in a heavy bombardment.
As soon as the division was deployed in the fields near Wieltje, they were shelled with tear gas. After the first gentle slope, they arrived in an inferno of gunfire, machine gun fire and shells, among which also tear gas shells. The men fell by the dozen.
It is obvious that the number of casualties was extremely elevated. The 47th Sikhs, which was in the first line of attack, lost 348 men from a total of 444, or 78% of the battalion. It was almost annihilated.
In total, the attack resulted in almost 2000 casualties in the two brigades. During this attack, Corporal Issy Smith of the 1st Manchesters, which belonged to the Jullundur Brigade, won a Victoria Cross. Amidst heavy shelling and continuous gunfire, he had ceaselessly evacuated the wounded.
WW1 7/9-AUG -1915 GALLIPOLI TURKEY
Lieutenant William Thomas Forshaw
LG 9-Sept-1915 Citation reads
He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions between 7 and 9 August 1915 in Gallipoli Turkey when holding the north-west corner of "The Vineyard" against heavy attacks by the Turks, Lieutenant Forshaw not only directed his men but personally threw bombs continuously for over 40 hours. When his detachment was relieved, he volunteered to continue directing the defence. Later, when the Turks captured a portion of the trench, he shot three of them and recaptured it. It was due to his fine example and magnificent courage that this very important position was held.
Born 29-Apr-1890 Barrow in Furness
Died 26-May-1943 Holyport Maidenhead Berkshire
Grave Touchen End Cemetery Bray Maidenhead
Lt William T Forshaw
As part of Hamilton?s plan for the great attack of 7 August on the Sari Bair ridge, a diversion was to be made at Helles in hopes that it would distract Turkish attention from the main thrust. In the event the Helles diversion proved a costly reverse. The 9th Manchester?s, part of the 42nd East Lancs Division, were ordered to attack in the area of the Vineyard, about 1000 yards south of Krithia village and the apex of the British line, at 3.50 pm on 6 August, shortly before the Suvla landings began. After a feeble artillery bombardment the attack on the left of the Manchester?s began, carried out by the 88th Brigade of 29 Division. It was thrown back with very heavy loss. The 9th Manchester?s? turn came at 9.40 am on the following day, against strongly entrenched Turkish positions. Forshaw established himself in a forward post, armed with a huge pile of about 800 jam-tin bombs and withstood repeated Turkish attacks which continued all night. After the war Forshaw transferred to the Indian Army, left in 1922, then served in the RAF?s educational branch for several years. . Working as a school teacher for some time he eventually worked for Gaumont British. In the 1939 war he served as a major in the Home Guard but died in 1943
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia
Gallipoli, Mesopotamia and Palestine
Six Territorial battalions of the regiment formed part of the 42nd East Lancashire Division, which, in May 1915, landed at Cape Helles the first landings to establish the beachheads at GALLIPOLI having taken place in April. Many of the Manchester battalions took part in the Third Battle of Krithia on the 4th JuneThe 127th (Manchester) Brigade reached their first objective, as well as managing to advance a further 1000 yards, capturing 217 Turkish soldiers in the process. In all, it was quite a successful attack by the 42nd Division. Just a few hours later, however, the brigade was forced to withdraw on account of a Turkish counter-attack that threatened their flanks. Further fighting took place at the positions the British had withdrawn to and were soon repulsed after many days fighting.
Many of the battalions also fought at the Battle of Krithia on the 6th August Many of the Manchester battalions suffered heavily during the battle, an engagement which would last to the 13th. Lieutenant WILLIAM FORSHAW of the 1/9th Battalion won the VC during the battle. The evacuation of Cape Helles lasted from December 1915 to January 1916. The Manchester battalions suffered many casualties during the Dardanelles Campaign. At the HELLES MEMORIAL 1,215 names of the Manchesters fill the memorial alone.
1/10 battalion part of 42nd East Lancashire division
WW1 8-Mar-1916 Mesopotamia
PRIVATE 15818 GEORGE STRINGER
LG 5-Aug-1916 Citation reads
"For most conspicuous bravery and determination. After the capture of an enemy position, he was posted on the extreme right of the Battalion in order to guard against any hostile attack. His battalion was subsequently forced back by an enemy counter-attack, but Private Stringer held his ground single-handed and kept back the enemy till all his hand grenades were expended. His very gallant stand saved the flank of his battalion and rendered a steady withdrawal possible.
Born 24-July-1889 Newton Heath Manchester
Died 22-Nov-1957 Manchester
Grave Phillips Park Cemetery
Private George Stringer
In the, Mesopotamian Campaign the 1st Manchesters took part in the Battle of Dujaila March 1916, which was intended to relieve the British forces in which wa Kut-al-Amara, s being besieged by Otterman forces. In the latter battle, the 1st Manchesters suffered rather heavily, though they carried on professionally, reaching the trenches of the Dujaila Redoubt with the, 59th Scinde Rifles (Frontier Force) however in an Ottoman counter-attack, they were forced back out of the trenches, withdrawing to their starting lines. During that withdrawal, Private GEORGE STRINGER held his ground single-handedly, using grenades on the Turkish soldiers, in doing this, he secured the flank of the battalion, winning the VC for his actions. The battle was a defeat for the British and Indian forces, who suffered 4,000 casualties. After the five battles, all defeats, that had taken place to relieve Kut, the town surrendered to the Ottoman forces on the 29 April 1916. The 1st Manchesters would take part in further actions in Mesopotamia, but in April 1918 the regiment moved to Egypt The battalion was then moved to Palestine still part of the 3rd (Lahore) Division, to take part in the campaign there against the Ottomans. They took part in the last major offensive there, Megiddo The infantry assaulted on the 19 September the 1st Manchesters being involved in much action. Within three hours the Turkish lines, held by the TURKISH 8th ARMY had been broken. Open warfare was the order of the day, in complete contradiction to what had, and was, occurring in other theatres. During the Megiddo offensive, the cavalry advanced over 70 miles in just thirty-six hours,. It was a total defeat for the Turkish Forces and the rapidly declining Ottoman Empire. The 1st Manchesters took part in further engagements in September and would remain in Palestine until 1919.
WW1 30-JULY-1916 GUILLEMONT FRANCE
CSM 10947 GEORGE EVANS
LG 31-Jan-1920 Citation reads
On 30th July 1916 at Guillemont, France, Company Sergeant-Major Evans volunteered to take back an important message after five runners had been killed in attempting to do so. He had to cover about 700 yards, the whole of which was under observation from the enemy. He succeeded in delivering the message in spite of being wounded and rejoined his company although advised to go to the dressing station. The return journey had again meant facing 700 yards of severe rifle and machine-gun fire, but by dodging from shell-hole to shell-hole he managed it.
Born 16-feb-1876 Kensington London
Died 28-sept-1937 Sydenham Kent
Grave Elmers End Cemetery Beckenham
CSM George Evans
Many battalions of the regiment continued to be involved in the Somme offensive, which lasted into November 1916. In late July, the 18th Bn of the Manchesters, a Kitchener battalion, along with the 16th and 17th Manchesters and other regiments, attacked an area known as Guillemont suffering very heavy casualties during the engagement During the action, Company Sergeant-Major GEORGE EVANS (18th Battalion) volunteered to take an important message, a duty that had resulted in the death of the five previous messengers. He ran over half a mile and, despite being wounded by enemy, delivered the message, subsequently returning, from shell hole to shell hole, under persistent heavy enemy fire, to his company. He was awarded the VC.
WW1 4-Oct-1917 POELCAPELLE BELGUIM
SGT 4926 CHARLES HARRY COVERDALE
LG 18-Dec-1917 Citation reads
On 4th 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.
Additional information:. Also received the Military Medal 2nd November 1917 and was subsequently promoted to Second Lieutenant.
Born 21-Apr-1888 Manchester
Memorial not known buried Egerton Cemetery Huddersfield
Sgt Charles H Coverdale
On the 31 July 1917, the Third Battle of Ypres began. As in many of the major battles, a large proportion of the Manchester battalions were involved. During 'Third Ypres', Sergeant CHARLES COVERDALE of the 11th Manchesters, killed three snipers, rushed two machine gun positions, then reorganised his platoon to capture another position, though after advancing some distance was forced back due to bombardment from the British artillery, suffering nine casualties in the advance. He later attacked with a smaller number of men, though when the Germans counter-attacked, he withdrew man-by-man, himself being the last to leave.
WW1 11-Dec-1917 GIVENCHY FRANCE
PRIVATE 2154 WALTER MILLS
LG 13-Feb-1918 Citation reads,
A strong enemy patrol endeavoured to rush our posts after a gas attack, which had caused the garrison to be overcome. In spite of being badly gassed himself, he met the attack single-handed, continuously throwing bombs until reinforcements arrived, remaining at his post until the enemy attack had been driven off. It was entirely due to his exertions that the enemy was defeated and the line was completely retained. It was whilst he was being carried to a Medical Station that he died
Born 22-June-1894 Oldham Lancashire
K.I.A. 11-Dec-1917 GIVENCHY FRANCE
Grave Gorre British Cemetery France
Pte Walter Mills
He was 23 years old, and a private in C Company, the 1/10th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, British Army, manning a position at Red Dragon Crater near Givenchy, France, was awarded the VC
WW1 21-Mar-1918 near ST QUENTIN FRANCE
LIEUTENANT COLONEL WILFRITH ELSTOB
On 21st March 1918 at the Manchester Redoubt, near St Quentin, France, Lieutenant Colonel Elstob encouraged his men during the preliminary bombardment, giving personal support with revolver, rifle and bombs. Single-handed, he repulsed a bombing assault and later when ammunition was required, made several journeys under heavy fire to replenish the supply. By means of a buried cable he sent a message to his brigade commander that the Manchesters would hold the position to the last, and although he was wounded twice he inspired his men to do this until he was killed in the final assault.
Born 8-Sept-1888 Chichester
K.I.A. 21-Mar-1918 St Quentin France
No known grave remembered with honour, Pozieres Memorial France
Lt/Col Wilfrith Elstob
During the last major German offensive on 21 March 1918, the 16th Manchesters were positioned on Manchester Hill in the St Quentin area when the offensive began that day. THE BATTLE OF MANCHESTER HILL was to be a truly tragic day for the battalion. A large German force, many thousands strong, attacked the 16th Bn, being repulsed in parts, but completely overwhelming the 16th elsewhere, though most of the positions lost were recaptured in counter-attacks by the 16th Manchesters. The 16th bitterly held their positions, fighting hand-to-hand with the German attackers. Lieutenant-Colonel ELSTOB performed bravely, fighting with pistol and grenade, indeed at one point repulsing a German grenadier attack single-handedly, encouraging his troops to continue fighting, making a number of journeys, despite very heavy fire, to replenish the dwindling ammunition supplies of the Manchesters. At one point, he sent a message to Brigade that 'The Manchester Regiment will defend Manchester Hill to the last', to his men he had said 'Here we fight, and here we die'. They did so, the battalion was, for the most part, annihilated. Lieutenant-Colonel Elstob was killed in the battle, he won the posthumous VC. The Hill was later counter-attacked by the 17th Manchesters, though by the end of the day they too had lost so many men that they ceased to be an effective fighting force. Two other men won the VC in the last months of the war in 1918.
WW1 20-Oct-1918 MAROU FRANCE
PTE 43839 ALFRED ROBERT WILKINSON
LG 6-Jan-1919 Citation reads,
On the 20th October 1918 at Maru, France, four runners in succession having been killed in an endeavour to deliver a message to a supporting company, Private Wilkinson volunteered for the duty. He succeeded in delivering the message, though the journey involved exposure to heavy machine-gun and shell fire for 600 yards. He showed magnificent courage and complete indifference to danger, thinking only of the needs of his company and entirely disregarding any consideration for personal safety.
Born 5-dec-1896 Leigh Lancashire
Died 10-oct -1940
Grave Leigh Cemetery
Pte Alfred Wilkinson
After the outbreak of the First World War Alfred Wilkinson enlisted into the 2/5th Bn, The Manchester Regiment, at Atherton, in December 1914. Whilst still in training he was transferred, on the 27th January 1916, to the 18th Battalion and finally went overseas with this battalion on the 29th July 1916, being part of a draft of replacements for losses in the opening days of the Somme battle.
At some point Wilkinson was transferred to the 1 / 5th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, probably in early 1918 when the 18th Battalion was disbanded, but his service papers do not disclose when this took place. However, Alfred Wilkinson clearly excelled himself serving with his new battalion on the 20th October 1918, where he was to earn his Victoria Cross, eventually returning home to a hero's welcome at Leigh, Lancashire, in February
WW1 4-Nov-1918 ORS FRANCE
2nd LIEUTENANT JAMES KIRK
ATTACHED 2nd BATTALION
LG 6-Jan-1919 Citation reads,
On 4th November 1918 the Battalion was attempting to bridge the Oise Canal, north of Ors, France. To cover this activity, Second Lieutenant Kirk took a Lewis gun, and went, under intense fire, paddling, on a raft, across the canal. At a range of only 10 yards, he expended all his ammunition. More ammunition was paddled across to him and he continued to maintain covering fire, for the bridging party, from a most exposed position. He maintained this post until he was killed.
Born 27-Jan-1897 Cheadle Hulme Cheshire
K.I.A. 4-Nov-1918 Ors France
Memorial at Ors Military Cemetery, Franc
2nd Lt James Kirk
WW1 24-JULY- 1920 HILLAH MESOPATAMIA
CAPTAIN GEORGE STUART HENDERSON
WAR OFFICE 29-Oct-1920 Citation reads,
On 24th July, 1920 near Hillah, Mesopotamia, Captain Henderson led is company in three charges against the enemy who had opened fire from the flank. At one time when the situation was extremely critical the Captain, by sheer pluck and coolness, steadied on his command and prevented his company from being cut up. During the second charge he fell wounded but refused to leave his command and just as the company reached the trench, he was again wounded, this time a mortally.
Born 5-dec-1893 East Gorden Berwickshire
K.I.A. 24-JULY-1920 Hillah
Memorial Basra Military Cemetery Iraq and crossroads
Captain G S Henderson
Arab Revolt (Mesopotamia) 1920 Victoria Cross Recipient. CAPTAIN GEORGE S HENDERSON Son of Robert and Mary Henderson, of Mount Hooly, Jedburgh, Roxburghshire. KIA 24-7-1920 no known grave Basra memorial panel 31 64
The Arabs, angered at what they perceived as their post-World War I betrayal by the Allies, as embodied in the Sykes-Picot Agreement which divided up the outer remnants of the former Ottoman Empire between France and Great Britain, rose up against the British occupiers, particularly administrators and civil servants. The conflict cost 2200 British and 10,000 Arab casualties before it was suppressed
HIS VC CAN BE SEEN AT THE Manchester Regiment Museum
On His Majesty, King George V's invitation, an Afternoon Party was held at Buckingham Palace on 26th June 1920 for the recipients of the Victoria Cross.
Attending from the Manchester regiment,
2nd Lieutenant Charles COVERDALE Manchester Regiment 1917
Co Sgt Major George EVANS Manchester Regiment 1916
Sergeant John HOGAN Manchester Regiment 1914
Lieutenant James LEACH Manchester Regiment 1914
Lance Corporal James PITTS Manchester Regiment 1900
Qtr Master Sgt Robert SCOTT Manchester Regiment 1900
Sergeant Issy SMITH Manchester Regiment 1915
Private George STRINGER Manchester Regiment 1916
Private Alfred WILKINSON Manchester Regiment 1918
The Graves and Memorials are in my photos page