History

The VC was instituted in 1856, but was back-dated to the autumn of 1854 to cover the Crimean War. The Cross was created to recognise and reward outstanding acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy. The award was open to all ranks and services in the presence of the enemy. Where the act of bravery was performed by a group of men, officers and other ranks has the privilege of selecting one of more of their number to receive the honour. This was the case for some of the VCs awarded for Elandslaagte.

The Cross consists of a Maltese Cross of bronze made from the metal from one of the Russian guns captured at Sebastopol. It has the Royal Crest in the centre and beneath a scroll bearing the words 'For Valour'. On the reverse of the cross is engraved the date of the act of bravery while the name of the recipient is engraved on the back of the suspender.

Initially, the ribbon for the Navy was blue and for the Army was red. However, by Royal Warrant of 22 May 1920, signed by Winston Churchill, the ribbon became red for all services. When the ribbon is worn, a small replica of the cross is fitted to the centre.

A Bar to the Cross can be awarded for a subsequent act of equal bravery. Throughout the history of the Cross, only 3 bars have ever been awarded.

Recipients of the VC

78 VCs were awarded for the Boer War.

A bar to the Victoria Cross has been awarded on three occasions, two of these linked to the Boer War. The first to gain the distinction was Lieutenant A Martin-Leake, the second was Captain N G Chavasse, who unfortunately did not live to receive the reward which he had earned with such great gallantry. Both officers belonged to the Medical Profession.

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 Surname   Forename   Rank   N   Unit 
AlbrechtHermanTrooperALBRECHT, H, Trooper, 'was', says Sir Ian Hamilton, 'a very fine young fellow and very good looking at that.  His uncle was in command of the artillery of the Orange Free State'.  'The Times History of the War in South Africa' (Vol III, page 197) says: 'an Hamilton, Wallnutt, Captain Fitzgerald, Sergeant Lindsay, and Trooper Albrecht, ILH, Gunner Sims, RN, and others threw themselves against the stream of panic-stricken men and checked their flight.  Then they sprang forward to the crest.  A dozen Boers had leapt on to the summit.  But in the teeth of a hail of bullets from the Imperial Light Horse fort, 200 yards away, all but three hung back.  The three, De Villiers, De Jager and Gert Wessels, rushed forward.  There was a wild race for the gun-pits.  Hamilton reached the 4.7 emplacement first, and, leaning his arm on the sandbag parapet, fired his revolver at the nearest Boer.  Almost immediately Albrecht fired from outside the pit, while, at the same moment, from the other gun-pit rose the head and shoulders of Digby Jones and of Corporal Hockaday, RE, each firing at his man.  De Villiers and De Jager fell dead against the wall of the 4.7 gun-pit, Wessels at the lower emplacement.  Miller-Wallnutt fell, shot through the head, as he reached the 4.7 gun-pit: the brave Albrecht a second later'.  Sir A Conan Doyle says, in his 'Great Boer War' (page 228): 'There has been no better fighting in our time than that upon Waggon Hill on that January morning, and no better fighters than the Imperial Light Horsemen who joined the centre of the defence.  Here, as at Elandslaagte, they proved themselves worthy to stand in line with the crack regiments of the British Army'.  Trooper Albrecht was awarded the Victoria Cross by King Edward, for which he would have been recommended had he lived.  London Gazette, 8 August 1902: 'Robert James Thomas Digby Jones, Lieutenant, Royal Engineers, and No 459, Trooper H Albrecht, Imperial Light Horse.  Would have been recommended for the Victoria Cross had they survived, on account of their having during the attack on Waggon Hill (Ladysmith) on 6 January 1900, displayed conspicuous bravery and gallant conduct in leading the force which reoccupied the top of the hill at a critical moment just as the three foremost attacking Boers reached it, the leader being shot by Lieutenant Jones and the two others by Albrecht'.  The Victoria Cross was given to Sergeant Albrecht's representatives in accordance with the regulations of 8 August 1902.  VC, QSA (2) Eland, DofL.  South African Military Museum.
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
Imperial Light Horse
AtkinsonAlfredSergeantATKINSON, ALFRED, Sergeant, was horn at Leeds, the son of Farrier Major James Atkinson, H Battery, 4th Brigade, Royal Artillery (who is said to have been one of the party who captured the original cannon from which the Victoria Cross was cast).  He rejoined the Colours from the Reserve at the outbreak of the South African Campaign in 1899-1902, and five months before his death in the heroic service recorded below.  Besides the Victoria Cross (which was given to his father in accordance with the regulation of 8 August 1902), Sergeant Alfred Atkinson was entitled to the Queen's Medal with clasps for Kimberley (Relief) and Paardeberg, where he fell.  His Victoria Cross was gazetted 8 August 1902: 'A Atkinson, No 3264, Sergeant, 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.  Date of Act of Bravery: 18 February 1900.  During the Battle of Paardeberg, 18 February 1900, Sergeant A Atkinson, 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, went out seven times, under heavy and close fire, to obtain water for the wounded.  At the seventh attempt he was wounded in the head, and died a few days afterwards'. 
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
(Princess of Wales's Own) Yorkshire Regiment
BabtieWilliamMajorBABTIE, WILLIAM, Major, was born in Scotland 7 May 1859, the eldest son of John Babtie, JP, of Dumbarton.  He was educated at the University of Glasgow, and took his MB degree in 1880, entering the Army Medical Service on 30 July 1881.  He served during the international occupation of Crete as Senior Medical Officer 1897-98, and was created a CMG (1899), also in South Africa on the Staff of the Natal Army, when he was present at all the actions for the relief of Ladysmith and the subsequent operations in Natal and Eastern Transvaal.  When describing the battle of Colenso, Sir A Conan Doyle says: 'For two hours the little knot of heart-sick humiliated officers and men lay in the precarious shelter of the donga, and looked out at the bullet-swept plain and the line of silent guns.  Many of them were wounded.  Their chief lay among them, still calling out in his delirium for his guns.  They had been joined by the gallant Babtie, a brave surgeon, who rode across to the donga amid a murderous fire and did what he could for the injured men'.  Later in the day we are told how Major Babtie went out with Captain Congreve to bring in Lieutenant Roberts.  For his services in this campaign Major Babtie was mentioned in Despatches, promoted Lieutenant Colonel, received the Medal with five clasps, and the Victoria Cross.  The London Gazette, 20 April, 1900, states: 'William Babtie, CMG, Major, Royal Army Medical Corps.  At Colenso, on the 15th December 1899, the wounded of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, were lying in an advanced donga close to the rear of the guns, without any medical officer to attend to them; and when a message was sent back asking for assistance, Major W Babtie, RAMC, rode up under a heavy rifle-fire, his pony being hit three times.  When he arrived at the donga, where the wounded were lying in a sheltered corner, he attended to them all, going from place to place exposed to the heavy rifle-fire which greeted anyone who showed himself.  Later on in the day Major Babtie went out with Captain Congreve to bring in Lieutenant Roberts, who was lying wounded on the veldt.  This also was under a heavy fire'.
In 1903 Lieutenant Colonel Babtie married Edith Mary, daughter of W H Barry, of Ballyadam, County Cork, and widow of Major P A Hayes, AMS.  They had one daughter.  From 1901 to 1906 he was Assistant Director-General Army Medical Service, War Office; from 1907 to 1910, Inspector of Medical Services; from 1910 to 1914, Deputy Director-General, and in 1912 he was created a CB.  During the Great War he served from 1914 to 1915 as Director of Medical Services in India, and from 1915 to 1916 as Principal Director of Medical Services in the Mediterranean, during the operations in Egypt, the Dardanelles and Salonika.  For his services in connection with the Expeditionary Forces in that area he was mentioned in Despatches and created a KCMG on 1 January 1916.  In 1916 he became a Director and in 1918 Inspector of Medical Services at the War Office, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant General in 1919, and was created a KCB on 3 June 1919.  General Babtie was an Honorary Surgeon to His Majesty from 1914 to 1919, and is a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in England and an LLD of the University of Glasgow.  He died at Knocke, Belgium, on 11 September 1920, aged 61.
VC, KCB, KCMG, QSA (5), 1914-15 Star, BWM,  VM, 1911 Coronation Medal, Order of St John of Jerusalem (Knight of Grace).
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
Royal Army Medical Corps
BarryJohnPrivateBARRY, J, Private, was born at St Mary's Kilkenny, 1 February 1873; entered the Royal Irish Regiment 1 December 1890, and saw active service in India, receiving the India Medal, 1895, with clasps for services on the North-West Frontier, Samana, 1897, and Punjab, 1897-98.  He served in the South African Campaign, received the South African Medal with clasps for Belfast, Cape Colony and Winterbergen, and was killed in action at Monument Hill 8 January 1901.  For his gallantry in this action he was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross, which was delivered to his representatives by order of King Edward VII, and in accordance with the regulation of 8 August 1902: 'J Barry (the late), No 3735, Private, 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment.  During the night attack on the 7th-8th January 1901, on Monument Hill, Private Barry, although surrounded and threatened by the Boers at the time, smashed the breach of the Maxim gun, thus rendering it useless to its captors, and it was in doing this splendid act for his country that he met his death'.   Out of 93 officers and men of the Royal Irish on the hill only 7 escaped; the remainder were killed, wounded, or captives in the hands of the enemy (8 killed, 5 died of wounds, 23 wounded, 51 taken prisoner). The Boer losses were heavy and included 14 killed. Of the 3 officers, Captain Fosbery was killed. Captain Milner was severely wounded, Lieutenant Dease injured, and both were taken prisoners.  The attack on Monument Hill, one of the outer defence posts of Belfast, Northern Transvaal, was made by a Boer force under General B. Viljoen, consisting of 750 men of the Johannesburg and Bocksburg commandos. It took place at night, in a thick fog, with the object of destroying the garrison of the post and capturing the 4.7 gun which they believed to be in position there, but which had in fact been withdrawn at nightfall on General Smith-Dorrien's orders. The maxim gun, which was rendered useless by Private Barry, was recaptured by the Royal Irish a few months later, and was presented to the regiment by the Secretary of State for War in 1904. It is now on display at the National Army Museum in London.  VC, the reverse of the suspension bar inscribed ‘Private J. Barry, Royal Irish Regiment', the reverse centre of the cross dated ‘8th Jany. 1901‘, together with Hancocks' & Co card box of issue, IGS 1895 (2) Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Samana 1897 (3733 Pte 2d Bn Ryl Ir Regt.), QSA (3) CC Witt Belf (3733 Pte 1st Rl Irish Regt).  DNW Sep 00 £85,000.
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
Royal Irish Regiment
BeesWilliamPrivateBEES, WILLIAM, Private, was born on 12 September 1872 at Loughborough, Leicestershire, son of William and Jane Bees.  He was educated at the Board School, and joined the Derbyshire Regiment on 7 March, 1890.  He served on the Indian Frontier in 1897-98, taking part in the Tirah Campaign, 1897-98 (Medal).  He again saw active service in the South African War of 1899-1902.  For his services in this campaign (1899-1901), he received the Queen's Medal with three bars, the King's Medal with two bars, was made Corporal on the field of battle on winning the VC, and was awarded the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 17 December 1901]: 'W Bees, Private, 1st Battalion The Derbyshire Regiment.  Private Bees was one of the Maxim-gun detachment which, at Moodwil, on the 30th September 1901, had six men hit out of nine.  Hearing his wounded comrades asking for water, he went forward, under a heavy fire, to a spruit held by Boers, about 500 yards ahead of the gun, and brought back a kettle full of water.  In going and returning he had to pass within 100 yards of some rocks, also held by Boers, and the kettle which he was carrying was hit by several bullets'.  He was discharged on the 18th September 1902.  In October 1914, he joined Kitchener's Army, but was discharged through sickness.  He rejoined again, 6 April, 1915 (Sherwood Foresters), and was at Whit-burn, Sunderland, until transferred to the Durham Light Infantry at Blythe and South Shields.  He was transferred to Class W, for mining after serving for 1 year and 133 days with the Colours (character good).  He enlisted again in the Royal Army Service Corps on 30 January 1918, and was transferred to the Army Reserve in consequence of Demobilization on 6 February 1919.  He was discharged.  Private Bees was married at All Saints' Church, Loughborough, on 25 April, 1903.  His wife's name is Sarah, and they have two children: Charles William and Lilian Elizabeth. 
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
(Sherwood Foresters) Derbyshire Regiment
BeetHarry ChurchillCorporalBEET HARRY CHURCHILL, Corporal, was born on 1 April, 1873, at Brackendale Farm, near Bingham, Notts, the son of Mr J A Beet, Sculptor.  He joined the Sherwood Foresters on 18 February 1892, and sailed for India in January 1894, where he served throughout the fighting on the Punjab Frontier, 1897 and 1898 (Medal and two clasps).  He served in the South African War of 1899-1902, and won the Victoria Cross while under immediate command of Captain P Leveson-Gower.  He was once wounded in this campaign on 9 December 1901.  He was promoted Sergeant by Lord Kitchener for service in the field.  The Victoria Cross was presented to him at the capital of Natal on 14 August 1901, by HRH the Duke of York.  His Victoria Cross was gazetted 12 February 1901: 'Harry Churchill Beet, Corporal, 1st Battalion Mounted Infantry.  At Wakkerstroom, on the 22nd April, 1900, No 2 Mounted Infantry Company, 1st Battalion Derbyshire Regiment, with two squadrons Imperial Yeomanry, had to retire from near a farm, under a ridge held by Boers.  Corporal Burnett, Imperial Yeomanry, was left on the ground wounded, and Corporal Beet, on seeing him, remained behind and placed him under cover, bound up his wounds, and by firing prevented the Boers from coming down to the farm till dark, when Dr Wilson, Imperial Yeomanry, came to the wounded man's assistance.  The retirement was carried out under very heavy fire, and Corporal Beet was exposed to fire during the whole afternoon'. 
The 'Times' of 22 February 1916, says: 'The appointment of H C Beet, VC, 32nd Reserve Canadian Infantry Battalion, to be temporary Lieutenant was gazetted last night'. 
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
(Sherwood Foresters) Derbyshire Regiment
BellFrederick WilliamLieutenantBELL, FREDERICK WILLIAM, Lieutenant, served in the Boer War of 1899-1902, and won the Victoria Cross.  He was decorated by the Prince of Wales, in London, on 11 July 1902.  His VC was gazetted 4 October 1901: 'Frederick William Bell, Lieutenant, West Australian Mounted Infantry.  At Brakpan, on the 16th May, 1901, when retiring through a heavy fire after holding the right flank, Lieutenant Bell noticed a man dismounted, and returned and took him up behind him.  The horse, not being equal to the weight, fell with them.  Lieutenant Bell then remained behind, and covered the man's retirement till he was out of danger'.  He became temporary Captain while in command of a Rest Camp in 1915.  He died 28 Apr 54 in Bristol and was buried in Canfield Cemetery, Bristol.  His VC is located in the West Australia Museum, Perth.
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
West Australia, 1st Mounted Infantry Contingent
BisbeeJohn HuttonTrooperBISDEE, JOHN BUTTON, Trooper, was born at Hutton Park, Tas­mania, 28 September 1869, son of John Bisdee, pastoralist (who died in 1891), and Ellen Jane Bisdee (nee Butler), who died in 1905.  Both his parents were born in Tasmania, and his grandfather, John Bisdee, and his grandmother, came from Hutton, Somersetshire, England.  He was educated at Hutchin's School, Hobart, Tasmania, and lived on the estate of Hutton Park until 1900, when he en­listed in the ranks of the 1st Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen in the South African War; served in that campaign from 1899 to 1902.  On 1 September 1900, at Warm Baths, north of Pretoria, Major Eardley Wilmot Brooke was directed to proceed in command of a mounted reconnaissance composed partly of a troop of Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen and partly of men of the mounted branch of the Army Service Corps, then doing duty as mounted fighting troops.  The former were under the command of Lieutenant Wylly, Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen.  Major Brooke's instructions were to proceed to a place north-west of Warm Baths, to drive off some Boer cattle supposed to be there, and to find out if there were any Boers in the neighbourhood.  The only way through the mountains north of Warm Baths lay through a narrow pass, and the party proceeded westward until, at the mouth of the pass, they came upon a Kaffir Kraal.  Here they ascertained that there were supposed to be Boers in the direction in which they had to go.  The pass was narrow, with high precipitous cliffs on either side, and Major Brooke had so few men that he could not hope to hold it effectively.  A deep formation was therefore adopted, and the small force was divided into an advanced party support, main body, and rear-guard, with connecting files.  They went up the pass at a gallop, and, on reaching a wide open space between hills beyond, the advanced party opened as a screen.  They then proceeded across a plain dotted with trees, till they came to some thickly wooded hills.  There Major Brooke decided to turn back, as nothing could be seen of the cattle they were looking for.  Except for some goatson the hills there was no sign of life anywhere.  The advanced party were watering their horses at a stream before turning back, when a very heavy rifle-fire was opened from the scrub about a hundred yards in front.  Major Brooke's horse took fright at the crack of the bullets on the hard ground and reared up, dragging the reins from his hand, and before he could draw his carbine from the bucket, she had galloped away with it, back towards the pass.  Major Brooke ran back to some rocks, behind which were some of the men, including Trooper Bisdee.  As he ran one bullet passed through his leg and another through his helmet.  The Boers were now working round them, so there was nothing for it but to leave the rocks.  The others, including a wounded man whom they had bound up, were on horseback, and Major Brooke on foot.  When they got into the open his wounded leg was almost out of action, so Trooper Bisdee pulled up and asked him to get on his horse.  This Major Brooke could not do, and he told him to go on.  This the Tasmanian refused to do, and, though the bullets were knocking up the dust all around them, he dismounted, drew up his horse alongside an ant-bear heap, and helped his commanding officer into the saddle, getting up himself behind him.  The fire was at short range, rapid and concentrated.  On arriving at the main body Major Brooke borrowed a rifle and retained the horse, for though his own had been caught by the rear-guard he was not able to change on account of his wound.  He then went back to look for any who might have been left behind, and met Lieutenant Wylly, who was wounded, and carrying a man on his horse.  He had been in the scrub some way to the right of the road, and for some time had returned the fire.  At length he came away, with a man who had lost his horse.  As Major Brooke found no more men, he sent the Tasmanians down the pass and formed a rear-guard of the ASC men.  He tried to drive off some cattle which they found, with the help of three men of the ASC who volunteered to stay and help, but, as the Boers were reaching the top of the cliffs, they had to abandon the attempt.  Major Brooke found his way back to Warm Baths with difficulty, owing to considerable loss of blood.  The Boers, estimated at about 3,000, soon afterwards attacked Warm Baths with guns.  Lieutenant Colonel Bisdee says of this affair: 'On 1 September a party of one officer and about 20 men of the ASC were sent out from Warm Bad to forage for supplies of live-stock.  Twenty men from the 1st Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen, under Lieutenant Wylly, were sent to escort them.  Marching up a narrow valley, the two officers being in front with the screen, evidence was seen that the place had been recently occupied.  Shortly afterwards heavy fire at short range opened on us from concealed positions.  The screen were all killed or wounded.  Lieutenant Wylly was wounded, and Major Brooke, the ASC officer, had his horse shot, and was also wounded.  The order to retire at the gallop was given.  Seeing the officer without a horse, I put him on mine, and ran alongside until out of range and then mounted behind him, and rejoined the escort.  (Note: The official account is slightly different as to details, but the above is correct).  Lieutenant Wylly was also awarded the VC at the same time, and several men the DCM.  It was decidedly 'hot' while it lasted, but fortunately it was soon over'.  For the services described above the two gallant Tasmanians received the Victoria Cross.  Trooper Bisdee's was the first Victoria Cross awarded to a Colonial.  He also received the Queen's Medal with two clasps, and the King's Medal.  Private Bisdee was awarded the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 13 November 1900]: 'John Hutton Bisdee, Trooper, Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen.  On the 1st September 1900, Trooper Bisdee was one of an advanced scouting party passing through a rocky defile near Warm Bad, Transvaal.  The enemy, who were in ambuscade, opened a sudden fire at close range, and six out of the party of eight were hit, including two officers.  The horse of one of the wounded officers broke away and bolted.  Finding that the officer was too badly wounded to go on, Trooper Bisdee dismounted, placed him on his horse, mounted behind him, and conveyed him out of range.  This act was performed under a very hot fire, and in a very exposed place'.  He received a commission in the 2nd Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen in March, 1901; returned to Australia in 1902, and again took up pastoral pursuits.  On 11 April, 1904, at New Town, Tasmania, he married Georgiana Theodosia, daughter of Right Reverend  Bishop Hale, of Gloucester, England, and late of Queensland and West Australia.  In 1906 he became Lieutenant in the 12th Australian Light Horse; promoted Captain in 1908.  Commanded 26th Light Horse Regiment , Tasmania, in 1912.  Joined Australian Imperial Force for service overseas on 26 July, 1915, and posted to 12th Australian Light Horse.  Promoted Major 16 August 1915.  Served with Australian Composite Regiment in November and December 1915, Senoussi Campaign, Egypt.  Seconded as APM Anzac Mounted Division, 24 May, 1916.  Seconded to command Australian Provost Corps, Egyptian Section, 20 January 1918, and appointed APM Australian Imperial Force in Egypt.  Promoted Lieutenant Colonel 2 February 1918.  Awarded OBE (Military Division) 3 June, 1919.  Lieutenant Colonel Bisdee was fond of sports, especially football.  Also hunting with the Hutton Park Beagles, Hutton Park, Tasmania. 
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
Tasmania, 4th Imperial Bushmen Contingent
BradleyFrederick HenryDriverBRADLEY, H G, Driver, Royal Field Artillery, was born 27 September 1870, at 5 Huntingdon Street, Kingsland, son of Edward Thomas Bradley, of Barnet.  He entered the Royal Field Artillery as Driver, and served in the Boer War of 1899 to 1902.  He displayed great gallantry at Itala, when Major Chapman and his little garrison made their splendid defence against Botha.  Sixteen hundred Boers attacked in the early morning, and our men—mostly Mounted In­fantry—held their ground for nineteen hours, inflicting a loss of five hundred killed, wounded, or taken prisoners.  Lieutenant Kane, of the South Lancashires, died at his post, shouting: 'No surrender, men!' and we lost heavily, but we kept our position against overwhelming odds.  During the fight ammunition ran short at the top of a steep hill, one hundred and fifty yards from the main body, and Major Chapman, of the Dublin Fusiliers, called for volunteers to carry some up.  It was then that Driver Bradley won the Victoria Cross, and Driver Lancashire and Gunners Bull, Rabb and Boddy the Distinguished Conduct Medal.  Bradley's Victoria Cross was gazetted 27 December 1901: 'H G Bradley, Driver, Royal Field Artillery.  Date of Act of Bravery: 20 September 1901.  During the action at Itala, Zululand, on the 26th September 1901, Major Chapman called for volunteers to carry ammunition up the hill; to do this a space of about 150 yards, swept by a heavy cross-fire, had to be crossed.  Driver Lancashire and Gunner Bull at once came forward and started, but half-way across Driver Lancashire fell wounded; Driver Bradley and Gunner Bull, without a moment's hesitation, ran out and caught Driver Lancashire up, and Gunner Rabb carried him under cover, the ground being swept by bullets the whole time.  Driver Bradley then, with the aid of Gunner Boddy, succeeded in getting the ammunition up the hill'.  He was promoted to Bombardier, received the Queen's Medal with five clasps, and the King's Medal with two clasps.  His Victoria Cross was presented to him by Lord Kitchener at Pretoria on Peace Thanksgiving Day. 
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
Royal Artillery
BrownEdward DouglasMajorBROWNE-SYNGE-HUTCHINSON EDWARD DOUGLAS, Major, was born 6 March, 1861, son of Major David Philip Browne, 7th (Queen's Own) Hussars, and Frances Dorothy (daughter of Francis Synge-Hutchinson, and his wife, Lady Louisa Hely-Hutchinson, and sister of Sir Edward Synge-Hutchinson,4th Baronet, of Castle Sailagh, County Wicklow).  He was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Windennere College, and at the United Services College, Westward Ho! and entered the Army, receiving a commission as Lieutenant in the, 18th Hussars 7 November 1883, and became Captain in less than five years, 8 August 1888.  On the 27th March, 1889, he exchanged into the 14th Hussars.  From the 1st January 1890, to the 31st December 1894, he was Commandant of the Aldershot School of Instruction for Yeomanry.  He became Major 28 January 1899.  Major Browne served in South Africa from 1899 to 1902, and at the action of Geluk he won the Victoria Cross for saving the lives of three men, one after the other.  He says his age at that time was 37 years 8 months, which was then, he believes, about the limit of antiquity for this decoration.  His Victoria Cross was gazetted 15 January 1901: 'Edward Douglas Brown, Major, 14th Hussars.  Date of Act of Bravery: 13 October 1900.  On the 13th October 1900, at Geluk, when the enemy were within 400 yards, and bringing a heavy fire to bear, Major Brown, seeing that Sergeant Kersey's horse was shot, stopped behind the, last squadron, as it was retiring, and helped Sergeant Hersey to mount behind him, carrying him for about three quarters of a mile to a place of safety.  He did this under a heavy fire.  Major Brown afterwards enabled Lieutenant Browne, 14th Hussars, to mount, by holding his horse, which was very restive under the heavy fire.  Lieutenant Browne could not otherwise have mounted.  Subsequently Major Brown carried Lance Corporal Trumpeter Leigh out of action'.  It was not mentioned in the official account that the horses of three other men were held by Major Browne, as they were in difficulties with them, and one of the animals, having run away, had to be caught and brought back.  Major Browne was the last officer of the British Regular Army to win the Victoria Cross in the life-time of Queen Victoria, as she died on the 22nd January 1901 (Lieutenant Doxat, of the Imperial Yeomanry, won his Victoria Cross on 20 October 1900).  He was decorated by Duke of Cornwall and York at Pietermaritzburg, Natal, on the 14th August 1901.  He was mentioned in Despatches: (1) In the London Gazette of 1 December 1901, by Sir John French, KCB (2) By Lord Roberts and by Lord Kitchener.  He was mentioned regimentally during the Boer War: (1) For service during the retirement at Thaba N'chu.  (2) For leading to the most advanced position at the Battle of Diamond Hill under heavy fire.  (3) For saving life at the Second Action of Geluk 13 October 1900.  (4) For General Distinguished Service during the war.  (5) Brevet of Lieutenant Colonel 17 June, 1902 (ante-dated to 29 November 1900).  He received the Queen's South African Medal with seven clasps, and the King's South African Medal with two clasps.  He commanded the 14th Hussars for seven and a half months during the Boer War.  In 1906 he was given the Brevet of Colonel, and in 1911 he became Substantive Colonel.  In the same year he was made a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in England and a Member of the Central Executive Committee of the St John's Ambulance Association 1911 to 1919.  He was also made a Freeman and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers of the City of London, and Freeman of the City of London, 1911.  He was created a CB in 1911.  On 30 March, 1917, Colonel Browne-Synge-Hutchinson was promoted to be Knight of Justice of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. 
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
14th (The King's) Hussars
ClementsJohn JamesCorporalCLEMENTS, J J, Corporal, 'was', says Colonel M F Rimington, 'South African born, and of splendid physique, a good boxer and always ready for a 'scrap''.  He served in the South African War, and was awarded the Victoria Cross, while serving under Major Rimington, of the Inniskilling Dragoons, with Rimington's Guides, who were called Rimington's 'Tigers' from the strip of spotted skin round their hats.  Corporal Clements was decorated in London on 1 July, 1902, at the same time as Lieutenant F E Bell, VC [London Gazette, 4 June, 1901]: 'J J Clements, Corporal, Rimington's Guides.  On the 24th February 1901, near Strijdenburg, when dangerously wounded through the lungs, and called upon to surrender, Corporal Clements threw himself into the midst of a party of five Boers, shooting three of them with his revolver, and thereby causing the whole party to surrender to himself and two unwounded men of Rimington's Guides'.
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
Rimington's Guides
CockburnHampden Zane ChurchillMajorCOCKBURN, HAMPDEN ZANE CHURCHILL, Major, the son of Mr George Ralph Richardson Cockburn (a Director of the Ontario Bank at Toronto, and for many years MP for that city, as well as Principal of Upper Canada College); was born on 19 November 1857; was educated at Upper Canada College (Toronto), and Rugby School, England.  On 20 November 1891, he entered the Governor-General's Bodyguard as 2nd Lieutenant On 20 September 1897, at great risk to himself he saved the lives of two brothers, Robert and James Harris, who were drowning in Lake Rousseau, Canada, and was awarded the Royal Canadian Humane Society's Medal.  Early in 1900 he volunteered for service in the Boer War of 1899-1902, and won the Victoria Cross as described in the London Gazette of 23 April, 1901: 'Hampden Zane Churchill Cockburn, Lieutenant, Royal Canadian Dragoons.  Date of Act of Bravery: 7 November 1900.  Lieutenant Cockburn, with a handful of men, at a most critical moment, held off the Boers to allow the guns to get away.  To do so he had to sacrifice himself and his party, all of whom were killed, wounded, or taken prisoners, he himself being slightly wounded'.  Lieutenant Cockburn, Lieutenant Turner and Sergeant Holland won the Victoria Cross in a very gallant defence of the guns at Komati River.  General Smith-Dorrien, by a wide turning movement, compelled the enemy to vacate a very strong position.  The Boers were very strongly reinforced during the night and tried to recover their position next day; but Colonel Evans, with the Canadian Mounted Rifles and two guns of the 84th Battery, forestalled them, after a gallop of two miles.  On the returning march, the rearguard consisted of the Canadian Dragoons and two Canadian 12-pounders, under Colonel Lessard.  After some heavy fighting they were unexpectedly charged in the afternoon by 200 mounted Boers, who got within seventy yards before they were stopped by the Canadian Dragoons.  Lieutenant Cockburn held them off at a most critical moment and deliberately sacrificed himself and his party to let the guns get away.  He was slightly wounded himself, and his men were all either killed, wounded, or taken prisoners.  Later in the day Lieutenant Turner, who had already been twice wounded, dismounted, and deploying his men at close quarters, drove off the enemy.  Sergeant Holland worked a Colt gun with most deadly effect, until at last he found the enemy almost on top of him, and the horse attached to the carriage much blown.  He then lifted the gun off the carriage, mounted his horse, and rode away with the gun under his arm.  Besides the Victoria Cross he also received the Queen's Medal, with clasps for Cape Colony, Diamond Hill, part in forty-five engagements.  He won the Victoria Cross under the command of Colonel Lessard, commanding the unit, and Major-General Smith-Dorrien, General Officer Commanding.  He was decorated by HRH the Duke of Cornwall and York at Toronto on 11 October 1901, and on the same occasion a sword of honour, voted to him by the council of that city, was presented to him.  Major Cockburn later belonged to the Canadian Reserve of Officers.  He was killed by his horse on his ranch at Maple Creek, Canada, July, 1913.
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
Canada, 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles
CongreveWalter NorrisCaptainCONGREVE, WALTER NORRIS, Captain, was born 20 November 1862, son of William Congreve, JP, DL, of Congreve, Staffs, and Burton Hall, Cheshire, and Fanny Emma, daughter of Lee Porcher Townshend, of Wincham Hall, Chester.  He was educated at Harrow, and entered the Rifle Brigade in 1885.  He became Captain in 1893.  He served in the Boer War of 1899-1902.  Was mentioned in Despatches twice, received the Queen's Medal with seven clasps, the King's Medal with two clasps, the Brevet of Lieutenant Colonel, and the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 7 February 1900]: 'Walter Norris Congreve, Captain, The Rifle Brigade.  Date of Act of Bravery: 15 December 1899.  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 and brought him in.  Captain Congreve was shot through the leg, the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and shoulder, and his horse shot in three places'.  He won the Victoria Gross with several others in an attempt to save Colonel Long's guns at Colenso.  Captain Congreve served on the Staff in South Africa, as AMS and Private Secretary to Lord Kitchener.  In 1900 he married Celia, daughter of Captain C B La Touche, and they had three sons, one of whom was Major Congreve, VC, DSO, MC who won his VS on the Somme.  He was promoted Major, and Lieutenant Colonel on 21 December 1901.  In December 1902, he became Assistant Military Secretary and ADC to HRH the Duke of Connaught in Ireland, being made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order by His Majesty the King when on a visit to that country in 1903.  He became Major-General in 1915, and Lieutenant General 1918, and was created a KCB in 1917.  He lost his left hand in 1917 and wore a prosthetic replacement.  General Sir W N Congreve was a Commander of the Legion of Honour and held the Order of St Anne of Russia, First Class.  Congreve became governor of Malta and died while in office on 26 February 1927.  He was buried at sea and commemorated by a stone pillar on the Maltese South Coast and by a tablet in Stow-by Chartley church in Staffordshire.  VC, KCMG, Order of St John Knight of Grace, MVO, QSA (7) CC Paard RofL Drie Joh DH Belf, KSA (2), 1914 Star and bar, BWM, VM & MID, 1902 Coronation Medal, Russia Order of St Anne of Russia (1st Class), France Legion of Honour (Commandeur), Rumania Order of the Crown 3rd class.  RHQ.
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
(Prince Consort's Own) Rifle Brigade
CoulsonGustavus Hamilton BlenkinsoppLieutenantCOULSON, GUSTAVUS HAMILTON BLENKINSOPP, Lieutenant and Adjutant, was born at Wimbledon, Surrey, on 1 April, 1879, the only son of H J W Coulson, of Newbrough Hall, Northumberland, and of Caroline Unwin, daughter of Henry Unwin, Bengal Civil Service. He was a great-grandson of Colonel Blenkinsopp Coulson, of Blenkinsopp Castle, Northumberland, one of a family of distinguished soldiers. He joined the 4th Battalion (Princess of Wales's Own) Yorkshire Regiment , but left it in his twenty-first year to enter the King's Own Scottish Borderers in July, 1899. In January 1900, he went on active service to South Africa, and for his services in this campaign he was mentioned in Despatches by Lords Roberts and Kitchener, received the Medal with five clasps, and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 27 September 1901]: 'Gustavus Hamilton Blenkinsopp Coulson, Lieutenant, King's Own Scottish Borderers'. He was also awarded the Victoria Cross after his death by King Edward, for his gallantry near Lambrechtfontein, when he rallied his men and saved the guns in a rearguard action, as well as saving his servant's life. He was mortally wounded on this occasion. The decoration was handed to Lieutenant Coulson's representative, and was gazetted 8 August 1902: 'Gustavus Hamilton Blenkinsopp Coulson, DSO, Lieutenant and Adjutant, King's Own Scottish Borderers, 7th Mounted Infantry. Date of Act of Bravery: 18 May, 1901. This officer, during a rearguard action near Lambrechtfontein, on the 18th May, 1901, seeing Corporal Cranmer, 7th Mounted Infantry, dismounted, his horse having been shot, remained behind and took him up on his own horse. He rode a short distance, when the horse was shot, and both Lieutenant Coulson and the corporal were brought to the ground. Lieutenant Coulson told Corporal Cranmer to get along with, the wounded horse as best he could, and he would look after himself. Corporal Cranmer got, on the horse and rode away to the column. No 4792, Corporal Shaw (Lincolns), 7th Mounted Infantry, seeing Lieutenant Coulson's position of danger, rode back through the rearguard and took him up on his horse. A few minutes later Corporal Shaw was shot through the body, and there is reason to believe that Lieutenant Coulson was wounded also, as he fell off his horse. Corporal Shaw fell off a few minutes later. This officer on many occasions throughout the campaign displayed great coolness and gallantry under fire'. The act for which the Victoria Cross was awarded to Lieutenant Coulson was performed under the immediate command of Major F C Lloyd (of the Lincolns) and Colonel T D Pilcher, CB, ADC (late of the 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment ). Lieutenant Coulson was killed at Lambrechtfontein, Orange River Colony, on 18 May, 1901, aged 22. The following is a copy of a letter written by Colonel (now Major-General) T D Pilcher, CB: “Bloemfontein, dear mr coulson, 24/5/01, You will doubtless have received news of the death of Lieutenant Coulson, and I write in the name of all the officers and men of the column which I command to tell you how sincerely we feel his loss and how much we admire the way in which he died. It may also be some poor consolation to you to know that before I heard of his death I recommended him for the Victoria Cross. On 19 May Lieutenant Coulson, as Adjutant of the 7th MI, about 300 strong (which with a pompom was acting independently under Major Lloyd), went back to see that the camp they were leaving at Lambrechtfontein, about fifteen miles south of Bothaville, was clear of ammunition, etc. At this time the rearguard were attacked, and the enemy pressed on them. Lieutenant Coulson rallied some men, and by his action saved a Maxim gun from falling into the enemy's hands. He afterwards galloped closer under the enemy's fire and got a wounded man on to his horse; the horse was shot. Corporal Shaw, Lincoln Regiment, helped Lieutenant Coulson on to his own horse, but after galloping a short distance felt himself hit through the back and felt Lieutenant Coulson fall off. Corporal Shaw managed to get to our carts, though severely wounded. Colonel Godfray is giving me your address. I am asking Major Lloyd, commanding 7th MI, to write to you. Lieutenant Coulson's body was buried on the scene of action by Dr May, whom I sent back with an ambulance. The enemy suffered more severely than Major Lloyd and party, for six dead Boers were found in one place, and the enemy did not succeed in taking any of our convoy. Please accept my sincerest sympathy in the loss of one whom I knew as a gallant, capable and hard-working officer, and believe me, Yours sincerely, T D Pilcher”. VC, DSO, QSA (5) CC Paard Joh D-H Witt (Lt KOSB). Regimental Museum Berwick-upon Tweed 2000.
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
King's Own Scottish Borderers
CrandonHarry GeorgePrivateCRANDON, HARRY GEORGE, Private, was born 9 February 1874, at Wells, Somerset, son of William Crandon and of Ellen Crandon (nee Hewlett).  Private Crandon wrote to Sir O'Moore Creagh: 'Sir, I respectfully beg to state that I went to India in October 1894, and from there to Ladysmith, South Africa, in 1898, where I served through the whole of the Boer War, and was in the Siege of Ladysmith.  I gained the VC on the 4th of July 1901, at Springboks Laagte, near Ermelo.  Eastern Transvaal, for saving Private Berry, 18th Hussars.  We were both advanced scouts together, and suddenly came upon a party of the Boers.  Private Berry's horse got killed, and he himself was wounded in two places.  I gave my horse to him and lifted him on to it, and sent him to an ambulance station, and got out of it the best way I could, and was not wounded myself.  Had the VC presented by Lord Kitchener at Pretoria, 8 June, 1902'.  Private Crandon received the Queen's Medal with five clasps, and was awarded the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 18 October 1901]: 'Henry George Crandon, Private, 18th Hussars.  On the 4th July, 1901, at Springbok Laagte, Private Berry's horse fell and became disabled, and he was himself shot in the right hand and left shoulder.  Private Crandon at once rode back under a heavy fire to his assistance, gave up his horse to the wounded man, to enable him to reach shelter, and followed him on foot, having to run for 1,100 yards, all the time under fire'.   Private Crandon writes: 'I joined this war in October 1914, in South Africa.  I was wounded in the left foot at Ypres, 13 May 1915.  After I was convalescent I was sent to the Balkans and was there two years, and went from there to Egypt, and came home to England lastly from Jerusalem, Palestine'. 
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
18th (Victoria Mary, Prince of Wales's Own) Hussar
CreanThomas JosephSurgeon CaptainCREAN, THOMAS JOSEPH, Surgeon-Captain, was born in Dublin in 1873, second son of Michael Theobald Crean, Barrister, and his wife, Emma (nee Dunne); was educated at Clongowes, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, and joined the Imperial Light Horse as a trooper on the outbreak of hostilities in the Boer War, and was appointed Captain in March, 1900, but gave up Squadron Command in June, 1901, and became Surgeon-Captain.  The Victoria Cross was presented to him by HM the King, in St James's Palace on 13 March, 1902, and was gazetted 11 February 1902: 'Thomas Joseph Crean, Surgeon-Captain, 1st Imperial Light Horse.  During the action with De Wet at Tygerskloof on the 18th December 1901, this officer continued to attend to the wounded in the firing line, under a heavy fire at only 150 yards' range, after he had himself been wounded, and only desisted when he was hit a second time, and, as it was first thought, mortally wounded'.  He married Victoria, daughter of Senor Don Tomas Heredia, of Malaga, and had one son and one daughter.  Major Crean was well known as an athlete, and played in the Irish International Rugby Fifteen in 1894 and 1896, and was one of the English team in South Africa in 1896. 
In the Great War he served with the 1st Cavalry Brigade in 1915, and was twice mentioned in Despatches, and created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 3 June, 1915]: 'Thomas Joseph Crean, Major, Royal Army Medical Corps'.  In 1916 he commanded the 44th Field Ambulance, British Expeditionary Force, in France.  Major Crean was Medical Officer in Charge, Hospital, Royal Enclosure, Ascot; was Clinical Assistant, Sa Manten Hospital for Women, London, and a Member of the Irish Twentieth Club.  He was LRCP and SI, Hoa FRCS (Ireland), LM, Rotunda Hospital, Dublin; late Assistant Master, Lying-in Hospital, Dublin.  He held the Arnott Gold Medal, 1902, and the Royal Humane Society Testimonial for saving life at sea, and was a Member of the Council of the Irish Graduate Society. 
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
Imperial Light Horse
CurtisAlbert EdwardPrivateCURTIS, A E, Private, won the Victoria Cross at Onderbank Spruit.  He was decorated at Pietermaritzburg on 14 August 1901, by the Duke of York.  His Victoria Cross was gazetted 15 January 19O1: 'A E Curtis, Private (now Corporal), 2nd Battalion The East Surrey Regiment.  Date of Act of Bravery: 23 February 1900.  On the 23rd February 1900, Colonel Harris lay all day long in a perfectly open space under close fire of a Boer breastwork.  The Boers fired all day at any man who moved, and Colonel Harris was wounded eight or nine times.  Private Curtis, after several attempts, succeeded in reaching the Colonel, bound his wounded arm, and gave him his flask, all under heavy fire.  He then tried to carry him away, but was unable, on which he called for assistance, and Private Morton came out at once.  Fearing that the men would be killed, Colonel Harris told them to leave him, but they declined, and after trying to carry the Colonel on their rifles, they made a chair with their hands and so carried him out of the fire'.  He later became a Sergeant. 
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
East Surrey Regiment
Digby-JonesRobert James ThomasLieutenantDIGBY JONES, ROBERT JAMES THOMAS, Lieutenant, was born 27 September 1876, son of Charles Digby Jones and Aimee Susanna Digby Jones (nee Christie).  He was educated first at Alnmouth, Northumberland, and afterwards at Sedbergh School, Yorkshire.  A notice in 'Rouge et Noir' (the Wilson's House periodical, published at Sedbergh) for February 1900, says: 'The death of R J T Digby Jones ... will have been received by all Wilsonites, past and present, with deep regret, though doubtless mingled with a certain sense of pride for an old schoolfellow who gave up his life in his country's cause; for the fact that he died the best of all deaths, fighting with con­spicuous bravery for the Queen and the Flag, brings unbounded honour to Serbergh and to the House, which will always, we feel sure, be justly proud of him.  He was a member of this House from May, 1800, till December 1893.  He was in the House Eleven for two, and the Fifteen for three years, gaining his 1st Twelve Colours before he left.  He was also a member of the House Eight, a strong swimmer and an excellent skater, and gained his 2nd Eleven Cap for his bowling in 1893.  He also obtained the Sedgwick Mathematical Prize in the same year.  In a word, he was a capital all-round athlete; twice in succession he won the boys' Scratch Gold Medal at North Berwick.  He passed into Woolwich in 1894, thirty-fourth in order of merit, and was fifth when bifurcating for the Royal Engineers; passing out sixth in the Royal Engineer Division, and obtaining his commission on 5 August 1896.  After a course of instruction at Chatham he was posted to the 23rd Field Company, Royal Engineers.  While at Chatham he was Secretary of the Royal Engineers' Football Club, and one of its foremost players.  He was also Secretary of the Royal Engineers' Golf Club, forming one of the team in the annual inter-regimental matches with the Royal Artillery in the years 1897,1898 and 1899, and doing the best round for the Sappers in 1899.  He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1899.  He accompanied the 23rd Field Company, Royal Engineers (under the command of Major S R Rice, RE) to Natal in June, 1899, proceeding straight to Ladysmith, where he was employed in the construction of a hospital in the Camp (afterwards abandoned when the siege began), and afterwards on the defences of the town.  At Ladysmith, he speedily made a name for himself by blowing up with gun-cotton a 4.7 howitzer mounted on Surprise Hill, which threw a 40 lb shell and had been causing much annoyance to the garrison.  Early on the morning of the 11th December, five companies of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, under Colonel Metcalfe, and some Sappers and Engineers under Lieutenant Digby Jones, marched out, and reached the foot of the slope before being challenged, when the order was given to fix bayonets and charge, and, under a heavy fire, the rifles moved up the slope with admirable steadiness.  The Boers did not wait for the cold steel, but fled, removing the howitzer before they went, which caused a short delay.  It was, however, soon found on the crest of a hill ten yards distant.  Protected by a ring of rifles, Lieutenant Digby Jones and his Engineers fixed charges of gun-cotton to the muzzle and breach of the howitzer and applied the fuse.  Two minutes—the length of the fuse—three minutes, five minutes passed, and there was no explosion.  Something must have happened to the fuse.  Lieutenant Digby Jones went back and lighted another.  Two minutes later the muzzle of the howitzer split into fragments with a roar and a brilliant flame.  The work was done, and with a loud cheer the companies of the Rifle Brigade began their march back to camp.  Their return was, however, barred by the Boers, who had had plenty of time to reinforce their beaten comrades.  But, using the bayonet freely, they burst through, losing 2 killed, 25 wounded, and the same number missing.  The Boers admitted they had lost 28 men killed; so their actual losses must have been heavier than ours'.  The following account of the enemy's attack on Wagon Hill is contained in a report from Major S R Rice, Officer Commanding 23rd Field Company, to the Chief Engineer, Natal: 'At 6.30 pm , on the 5th January 1900, a party of 33 NCO's and men of the 23rd Company left our camp at Ladysmith for night work on Wagon Hill, Lieutenant R J T Digby Jones was the Officer in Charge.  Their duties were to make a second (or upper) emplacement for a naval 12-pr gun; to assist in mounting a 4.7-inch gun, which was coming that night from Junction Hill, in the sunken emplacement already prepared; and to fix a platform in the lower 12-pr emplacement.  A working party of 50 Infantry was also provided for Lieutenant Digby Jones.  They joined at Wagon Hill without arms, and left at 2.30 am on the 6th on completion of the work required of them.  A party of 10 RN under Mr Sim, RN, assisted by a working party of 100 infantry, was detailed for the movement of the 4.7-inch gun.  In addition, an escort of 70 infantry was provided.  The permanent garrison of that end of Wagon Hill consisted of 25 Imperial Light Horse, with 2 officers.  At about 5 am on the 6th a report reached our camp that the enemy were on Wagon Hill, and that Lieutenant Jones's detachment had been captured.  This was the first intimation we (RE) had of any attack.  The firing of guns had been heard for some time previously, but at that period of the siege this was not an unusual occurrence.  In case of attack the orders were for the CRA, CRE, etc, to proceed to head­quarters.  But in view of the report I thought it best to ascertain personally what had occurred, so I rode out as quickly as possible, meeting Lieutenant Digby Jones on the top of Wagon Hill at 5.45 am.  Our men were then lining the front ridge of the plateau (Wagon Hill, W), exchanging a hot fire with the enemy on their front and left flank; and Major Miller-Wallnutt, Gordon Highlanders, was present and in charge.  Second Lieutenant G B B Denniss, the RE officer detailed by me for duty with that section of the defences, had already arrived.  Lieutenant Digby Jones gave me a very clear and full report of what had occurred within his observation up to the time of my arrival.  I have also heard the statements of various NCO's and men of his party.  In the following brief account of what occurred throughout the day I have relied on these reports in connection with anything recorded that did not come within my personal observation.  On the arrival of the various parties at Wagon Hill, W, on the night of the 5th, work proceeded as usual until 2.45 am on the 6th, when, without previous warning, musketry fire was opened on them from the outer crestline of Wagon Hill proper, on their left flank, at a distance of about 150 yards.  At that time Lieutenant Digby Jones and about 25 of his party were working at the upper 12-pr emplacement.  The remaining 8 were fixing the platform in the lower 12-pr emplacement at the W extremity of the hill, distant about 70 yards.  Digby Jones at once ordered the party to stand to their arms, which were piled by them; kicked over the lanterns, which were evidently attracting the enemy's fire; extended his men from right to left, and opened fire in return on the place whence they were being fired upon.  The RN who were near the 4.7-inch emplacement also stood to their arms, under Mr Sim.  The party of Imperial Light Horse also fell in with their officers.  Some of the Gordon Highlanders fell in with Digby Jones' party.  Naturally a good deal of hurry and confusion occurred at first; but none of the parties mentioned above ever left, or were driven off, the top of the hill.  Both ILH officers were wounded almost at once, and Lieutenant Digby Jones took command, remaining in charge of the various parties until 5.15 am, when reinforcements (ILH and Gordon Highlanders, under Major Miller-Wallnutt) commenced to arrive.  Shortly after the action opened Digby Jones pushed his men forward about 40 yards, with bayonets fixed, and occupied the outer crest of the hill; the ILH also moved forward; and the RN party, with 8 sappers, occupied the lower 12-pr emplacement and the outer crest of the right flank.  Royal Engineers
DouglasHenry Edward ManningLieutenantDOUGLAS, HENRY EDWARD MANNING, Lieutenant, was born 11 July, 1875, son of George Alexander Douglas, of Kingston, Jamaica.  He entered the Medical Branch of the Service on 28 July 1899, served in South Africa 1893-1901, was mentioned in Despatches, received the Queen's Medal with two clasps, was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, and awarded the Victoria Cross [London Gazette, 29 March, 1901]: 'Henry Edward Manning Douglas, Lieutenant, Royal Army Medical Corps.  On the 11th December 1899, during the action at Magersfontein, Lieutenant Douglas showed great gallantry and devotion, under a very severe fire, in advancing in the open and attending to Captain Gordon, Gordon Highlanders, who was wounded, and also attending to Major Robinson and other wounded men under a fearful fire.  Many similar acts of devotion and gallantry were performed by Lieutenant Douglas on the same day'.  He was awarded the DSO.  He was promoted Captain 27 July 1903, and on his return to England he did duty for a time at St George's Barracks, London.  In October 1903, ho again saw active service in Africa, with General Egerton's command in Somaliland, 1903-4, was present at the Battle of Jidballi, and received the Medal and two clasps.  He became Major in 1911; served in the European War from 1914, was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel 1915, and created a CMG 1916, and received the Order of St Sava, Serbia, in 1916.  Douglas served as commandant of the Royal Army Medical College from 1926 to 1929, then Deputy Director Medical Services, Southern Command, India, until 1933. Major General Douglas died at Droitwich, Worcestershire, on 14 February 1939.  VC, CB, CMG, DSO, QSA, 1914-15 Star, BWM, VM, 1911 Coronation Medal, 1937 Coronation Medal, Serbia, Order of St Sava, France, Croix de Guerre avec Palme.  Medals held by the RAMC HQ.
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
Royal Army Medical Corps
DoxatAlexis CharlesLieutenantDOXAT, ALEXIS C, Lieutenant, was born at Surbiton, Surrey, on 9 April, 1867, the son of Sir  Edmund Doxat, of Wood Green Park, Hertfordshire, and was educated at Norwich Grammar School and Philberd's, Maidenhead.  He was a Captain in the Dalston Militia under Colonel Somerset, CB, and Lieutenant Colonrt Bowles, MP, and passed the Auxiliary School of Instruction and the Hythe Musketry School.  He became a member of the Stock Exchange, but left it on the outbreak of the Boer War to proceed to South Africa with Lord Scarbrough's detachment.  He took part in Lord Methuen's advance from Boshof in May 1900, and in September joined General Douglas's Column as personal ADC, acting chiefly as reconnaissance officer.  He won the Victoria Cross near Zeerust for the services described in the Gazette, and was decorated by King Edward VII at Marlborough House on 17 December 1901.  His VC was gazetted 15 January 1901: 'Alexis C Doxat, Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion The Imperial Yeomanry.  Date of Act of Bravery: 20 October 1900.  On the 20th October 1900, near Zeerust, Lieutenant Doxat proceeded with a party of mounted infantry to reconnoitre a position held by 100 Boers on a ridge of kopjes.  When within 300 yards of the position the enemy opened a heavy fire on Lieutenant Doxat's party, which then retired, leaving one of their number who had lost his horse.  Lieutenant Doxat, seeing the dangerous position in which the man was placed, galloped back under a very heavy fire, and brought him on his horse to a place of safety'.  Lieutenant Doxat married Mrs Hugh Mair.  He died 29 November 1949 and was buried in Cambridge City Cemetery.
VC, reverse of suspension bar engraved (Lieut A C Doxat, 3rd Bn Imperial Yeomanry), reverse centre of the cross dated '20th Octr 1900', QSA (4) CC OFS Tr SA01 (Lt VC 11/Co 3/Imp Yeo), 1914-15 Star (Capt VC KRRC), BWM, VM (Capt VC), 1937 Coronation.  Full size group Sotheby's 1971 and DNW May 92 £14,000.  Miniatures only DNW Feb 99 £800 and again Jul 04 £580.
Source: VC recipients (VC and DSO book)
3rd Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry
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