We will re­mem­ber them VIC­TO­RIA CROSS

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Vic­to­ria Cross is the high­est mil­i­tary dec­o­ra­tion awarded for val­our “in the pres­ence of the en­emy” to mem­bers of the British and Com­mon­wealth armed forces. It was in­tro­duced in 1856 by Queen Vic­to­ria to hon­our acts of brav­ery dur­ing the Crimean War and has since been awarded 1,357 times to 1,354 in­di­vid­ual re­cip­i­ents.

Among them are at least eight men from Coven­try and War­wick­shire, or who served with the Royal War­wick­shire Reg­i­ment, dur­ing the First World War.

Arthur Vick­ers was born in Birm­ing­ham in 1882 and won the VC dur­ing the Bat­tle of Loos on Septem­ber 25, 1915.

Launch­ing an at­tack at 6.30am, and in the face of ter­rific fire, the bat­tal­ion reached the first line of trenches to find the wire had not been cut.

Pte Vick­ers ran for­ward and, stand­ing up in broad day­light un­der heavy fire, cut two gaps in the wire.

His ac­tion con­trib­uted largely to the suc­cess of the as­sault which saw the cap­ture of 60 pris­on­ers.

An in­di­ca­tion of the sever­ity of the fight­ing that day is that af­ter the at­tack the bat­tal­ion could only muster five of­fi­cers and 140 men. Vick­ers died aged 62 in 1944 and was buried at Wit­ton Ceme­tery in Birm­ing­ham.

Phillips was born in West Bromwich on April 11, 1895, and served as a tem­po­rary lieu­tenant and later cap­tain with the 13th Bat­tal­ion, at­tached to the 9th, which was in­volved in fierce fight­ing against the Turks near Kut in Me­sopotamia.

On Jan­uary 25, 1917 a Turk­ish counter at­tack had driven the lead­ing British troops out of their trenches.

Col Ed­ward Hen­der­son the com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of the 9th, was se­verely wounded dur­ing an at­tack to re­gain the po­si­tion. Phillips showed great courage both dur­ing the at­tack and in bring­ing Hen­der­son back to the British trenches.

Phillips sur­vived the war and died in Corn­wall in 1968. Gram­mar School and was 38 years old, and a ma­jor and lieu­tenant colonel in The North Stafford­shire Reg­i­ment at­tached to 9th Royal War­wick­shires.

On 25 Jan­uary 1917 on the west bank of the River Hai, near Kut, Me­sopotamia, Hen­der­son brought his bat­tal­ion up to two front-line trenches which were un­der in­tense fire. Although shot through the arm, Hen­der­son jumped onto the para­pet and ad­vanced alone some dis­tance in front of his bat­tal­ion, cheer­ing them on un­der the most in­tense fire over 500 yards of open ground.

Again wounded, he nev­er­the­less con­tin­ued to lead his men on, fi­nally cap­tur­ing the po­si­tion by a bay­o­net charge.

He was again twice wounded, and died when he was even­tu­ally brought in. He is buried in the Amara War Ceme­tery.

Hutt was born in Earls­don in 1889 and was the first Coven­trian to be awarded the VC.

On Oc­to­ber 4, 1917, dur­ing the third bat­tle of Ypres, “A” Com­pany cap­tured their first ob­jec­tive but, as they con­tin­ued their ad­vance, all the of­fi­cers and NCOs in Pte Hutt’s pla­toon were hit. Hutt, aged 28, took com­mand and led the pla­toon for­ward. He was held up by an en­emy strong point, but ran for­ward alone, shot the of­fi­cer and three men in the post, and caused 40 or 50 oth­ers to sur­ren­der.

Re­al­is­ing that he had pushed too far, Hutt with­drew his party, per­son­ally cov­er­ing the with­drawal by snip­ing and killing a num­ber of the en­emy.

Af­ter car­ry­ing back a badly wounded com­rade he went back out and car­ried in four men un­der heavy fire.

Hutt died in Wyken, on April 14, 1954, aged 65. Fol­low­ing a mil­i­tary fu­neral, he was cre­mated at Can­ley. There is a stone to his me­mory in Coven­try’s War Me­mo­rial Park.

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