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15
The Victoria Cross
ixteen prisoners, be ides regaining possession of an important advance
trench. For this magnificent work they were each subsequently awarded
the Victoria Cross and well did they deserve the coveted bronze medal.
They had been b;ave as few men have been, and had risked their lives
freely at the call of duty."
HOGAN, JOHN,
ergt., served in the South .\frican War, was disch.arged
and rejoined his regiment. He erved
111
the
John
Ho~an.
European War. The :Manchester Regt.,
when in occupation of Festubert, held its
difficult position with plendid determina–
tion.
ergt. Hogan was awarded the Vic–
toria ero s [London Gazette, 22 Dec. 1914] ;
James Leach, econd Lieut.; John Hogan,
ergt., 2nd Battn. The }Ianchester Regt.
Date of Acts of Bravery: 29 Oct. 1914.
For conspicuous bravery near Festubert,
on the 29th Oct., when, after their trench
had been taken by the Germans, and after
two attempts at recapture had failed, they
voluntarily decided the same day to
recover the trench themselves, and, working
from traverse to traverse at close quarters
with great bravery, they gradually suc–
ceeded in regaining possession, killing
eight of the enemy, wOlmding two, and
making sixteen pri oners."
London Gazette, 11 Jan. 1915.-" His
~laje
ty the King has been
graciously plea..,ed to appro\'e of the grant of the \'ictoria Cross to Xo. 7079,
Bandsman Thomas Edward Rendle,lst Battn. The Duke of Cornwall's
Light Infantry, for his conspicuous bravery, specified below."
RENDLE, THOMAS EDWARD,
Bandsman, was born 30 Nov. 1884,
at 4, Mead Strl'et, Bedminster, Bristol, son of James Rendle, Painter a!ld
Decorator, and of Charlotte Rendle, who died 4 Oct. 1898, leaving a
~amIly
of three sons (all of whom served
111
the
war) and four daughters. He was edu–
cated at St. Luke's School, Xew Cut" Bed–
minster, and joined the Army 5 ept. 1902,
being sent with a draft to join the 1st Battn.
Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry at
Thomas Edwclrd Rendle.
tellenbosch, Cape Colony, 3 Jan. 1903.
The battalion later moved to
~Iiddelburg,
and in July,
l!)().!,
were moved to
Wyn–
berg, Cape Colony, remaining there until
12 March, 1906. They then embarked foJ'
England on
H.~1.T.
Soudan, landing at
Plymouth 5 April, 1906, and proceed–
ing to Crowshill. On the 7th Feb.
1906,
in South Africa, he married Lilian,
daughter of Bandsman W. Crowe (late
60th Rifles, Kandahar Star and Afghan
~ledal),
and they have two children:
Ruby Lilian Jessie, born 23
~lay,
1907,
and Edward William Wootton, born 10 Oct. 1909.
ergt. Rendle ",-rites:
.. I ha \'e been a handsman ince enlistment; was sent to South Africa in
Jan. 1903. arrivl'd in England _\pril, 1906; ern-d in . various stations in
the Cnited Kingdom ince, and in :\larch, 1914, moved with the battalion
to Newry, North Ireland, owing to Home Rule trouhles. We returned to
the Curragh the I'nd of July, 1914, and marched out for the front 13 Aug.
I was mentioned in Despatches early in the war, for good work in the field,
was also mentioned in Sir John French's Despatches on the First Battle. of
Ypres, in conjunction with winning the Victoria Cross." The follow1l1g
i an account of an interview with Rendle, given by a newspaper corre–
spondent: " Another hero of the war, Bandsman Thomas Edward Rendle,
~o.
7079, 1st Battn. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, who has now been
promoted Lance-Corporal, ha been awarded the Victoria Cross for con–
spicuous bravrry on 20 Xov. , near Wulverghem. According to the Gazette,
Rendle attended to the wounded tmder very heavy shell and rifle fire, and
r cued men from the trenche in which they had been buried by the blo·wing
in of the paraprt ' hy the fire of the enemy's heavy howitzer. Rendle is
now a patient at Xo. 1
~Iilitary
Hospital-better kno,,"'ll as the Eye In–
firmary at Exrtrr. He was born in Bristol thirty years ago, and educated
there. The fact that he was attached to the Duke of Cornwall's Light
Infantry was, to use his own words' just a chance.' While he has been
serving his wife has made her home at Monks Road, Exeter. When it
wa ought to obtain an interview with Rendle he first refused point-blank
to be seE-n, much less interviewed. This was because he has been embar–
ras ed hy the fu s which has been made of him in consequence of the
honour he has earned. At la t, however, he Nnsented
to
give an account
of the incident which led to the award of the Victoria Cross. His impres-
ion of the event of 20 Xov. were not at all clear, and as he modestly put it
• there i really
nothi~
in it.'
ights he had een in the trenche , he said,
were' enough to move the heart of a tone.' Xear Wulverghem he was in
the trenche eight day , and he made up his mind to assist in the removal
of the wounded at whate"-er co
t.
In the midst of shell and rifle fire, he
took his wounded comrades out of the trench one after the other. He
was warned again and again to • come down,' but paid no heed to the danger.
Men had been buried by the blowing in of the parapets by the German
howitzers, and they would undoubtedly have perished had they not been
carried away. He was acting as stretcher-bearer when Lieut. Colebrook
was wounded. The German trenches were about 200 yards away, and our
trenche were tmder a heavy fire of big gtmS, machine-guns, and rifles.
everal section of our trenche were blown in, and spaces, which were swept
by fire and were without shelter, were left between the trenches which
remained. 'After Lieut. Colebrooke was hit,' he said, 'Lieut. Wingate
crawled over the gap to his assistance, and asked me to go with him. To–
gether we bound up his wounds. An artery in his right thigh was severed,
and he was bleeding rather badly. The Germans were popping at us all
the time. To get the wounded officer back I started to make a shallow
burrow across the open space with my hands. Every time I threw up the
dirt I had scraped loose I suppose my head bobbed up, and the Germans
took pot shots at it. I had two or three narrow escapes. I have no recol–
lection of how long I was exposed to the fire. I didn't take much notice of
it at the time; one gets used to that sort of thing. I had to make several
burrows in order to get cover of any kind. Fortunately, neither Mr. Cole–
brooke nor I got hit on the way back. I had to crawl, of course, and carry
him as best I could.' Rendle was invalided through sickness. He had
been at the front since the beginning of the war, and although he had
several narrow escapes he was never hit. He was glad to hear that Lieut.
Colebrook was now convalescent, and mentioned that the officer had since
thanked him for his help. Full justice was done to the bandsman's bravery
in a letter written by Lieut.
R.
R. Wingate to his mother, Mrs. Wingate,
The Court, Cullompton. In this letter Mr. Wingate said: 'We have had
a terrible time in the trenches, getting well shelled.' Then followed the
description of the incident in which Rendle distinguished himself, and the
circumstances leading up to it: 'Two of the shells pitched into the trench
only about 30 yards from me, and blew ten men to pieces. They also blew
down all the front part of our trench, and the earth filled up the dug-out
part. This was very annoying, as it divided our trench into two parts,
and made it impossible to get from one half to the other without running
across this open piece of ground, about five or six yards. Of course, the
Germans realized this, and put a machine gun coveping this space, so that
anyone who crossed carried his life very much in his hands, A subaltern
in my company (Colebrook) got shot that afternoon in that part of the
trench without a communicating trench, He asked for me, So I went
along to him; this meant that I had to cross this gap, but luckily they
failed to hit me. We decided it was quite impossible to move him unti l
dark, as there was no way of getting him across the gap, so I sat down to
chat with him, when suddenly the Germans started again with their shells.
The first two went over the trench, but the next one pitched just short,
and that buried me with mud. This, I thought, was a bit too much, so I
said that Colebrook must be got away. Just then I got called away to the
other end of the trench for a few minutes. In the meantime, one of the
stretcher-bearers (Rendle) lay on his stomach in the gap and tmder fire,
and tried. to clear the earth out of the original trench to get a safe path to
get Colebrooke past the gap. But another shell came, and he decided
to
risk it. Rendle, the stretcher-bearer, took Colebrook on his back and
wormed his way across the open gap on his stomach, thus getting him into
the right half of the trench, where it was plain sailing.... We have Rendle's
name in for distinction, so that if you See his name amongst the V.C.'s or
D.C.M.'s you will know what he got it for.' ' ' He was awarded the Victoria
Cross [London Gazette, 11 Jan. 1915]: "Thomas Edward Rendle, ·No.
7079, 1st Battn. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Date of Act of
Bravery: 20
~ov.
1914. For conspicuous bravery, on the 20th Nov. near
Wulverghem, when he attended to the wotmded tmder very heavy shell and
rifle fire, and rescqed men from the trenches in which they had been buried
by the blowing in of the parapets by the fire of the enemy's heavy howitzers."
He was promoted to Lance-Corporal, and received the 4th Class Russian
Order of St. George. He wa later promoted to Sergeant.
It
was a red–
letter day at
t.
Luke's, Bedminster, when Sergt. Rendle made his appear–
ance to fulfil his promise to vi it his old school. Teachers and scholars were
highly delighted, and showed their joy and enthusiasm in a thoroughly
patriotic spirit. The gallant V,C., who looked in the best of health, 'highly
appreciated the warm welcome accorded to him. He was interested to
learn that the undermentioned Old Boys had also been honoured by their
King and country: Corpl. F. Glanville (D.C.M.); Corpl. R. Glanville
(D.C.:\f.) (brothers); Sergt. Frampton (M.M.), and Sapper T. E. Cockle
(~L~L).
London Gazette, 18 Feb. 1915.-" His Majesty the King has been graciously
pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned
Officers and :\fen for their conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty whilst
serving with the Expeditionary Force."
ALEXANDER, ERNEST WRIGHT,
Lt.-Col., was born at Liverpool 2
Oct. 1870, son of Robert Alexander (Shipowner and Director, Suez Canal),
and of Annie Alexander, daughter of James Cramton Gregg, of Belfast.
He received his education at Cherbourg House, Malvern, and at
Harrow, and entered the Royal Military Academy direct from Harrow
in 1880, accelerated one term. Lord Ernest Hamiilton, in "The First
Seven Divisions," gives the following account of Major Alexander's act
of bravery; "The dismounted men were gradually withdrawn. During
the course of one of these withdrawals, Capt. Francis Grenfell, 9th
Lancers, noticed :Major Alexander, of the 119th Battery, in difficulties
with regard to the withdrawal of his guns. All his horses had been
killed, and almost every man in the detachment was either killed or
wounded. Capt. Grenfell offered assistance, which was gladly accepted,
and presently he returned with eleven officers of his regiment, and
some forty men. The ground was very heavy, and the guns had to be
run back by hand under a ceaseless fire, but they were all saved, Major
Alexander, Capt. Grenfell, and the rest of the officers working as hard as
the men. Capt. Grenfell was already wounded when he arrived, and was
again hjt while manhandling one of the guns, but he declined to retire
till they were all saved. For this fine performance Major Alexander and
Capt. Grenfell were each awarded the Victoria Cross, Sergts. Turner and
Davids getting the D.C.M. The award was announced in the London Gaz€tte
[London Gazette, 18 Feb. 1915] : " Ernest Wright Alexander, Lieut.-Colonel,
119th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. Date of Act of Bravery; 24 Aug.