Page 177 - The-VC-and-DSO-Volume-I

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The Victoria Cross
167
made their decisive charge on the night of 6 Nov. 1914, lies an earth heap
from the cutting of the Ypres-Lille railway, some 250 yards long by
200 yards deep, which is known tp fame by the name of Hill 60. Desperate,
indeed, was the fighting of which Hill 60 was the scene towards the
end of April, 1915. Its importance to the British consisted
in
the fact
that it afforded an artillery position from which the whole German front
from the neighbourhood of the Hollebeke Chateau could be commanded,
and we were determined to get posses,>ion of it. Accordingly, about
seven o'clock in the evening
oC
17 April, we exploded seven mines on
the Hill, which played havoc with the defences, blowing up a trench
Hne and 150 of the enemy with it, and enabled our men to win the top of
the hill, where they entrenched themselves in the shell-craters and
brought up machine guns. Next day the enemy delivered a series of the
most determined counter-attacks, which resulted in desperate fighting at
close quarters. But they were all repulsed, and bv the evening the Germans
had been driven from the slopes of the hill, and the glacis was littered with
their dead. However, the position was of far too ml1Ch importance to the
enemy for them to desist. from their efforts to recover it, and during the next
three days our troops had no respite. All through the 19th and 20th
they were subjected to a terrific bombardment from three sides, and lived
through a veritable inferno; while on the evening of the latter day they
were called on to withstand another fierce infantry attack . The 1st East
StyreY:3 were t erribly hard pressed, and Lieut. George Roupell won
t~e
VIctOrIa Cross. But he was not the only member of his battalion to gam
the crown of the British soldier's ambition. A lad of nineteen, Private
Edward Dwyer, who earlier in the day had displayed great gallantry in
going out into the open, under heavy shell fire, to bandage the wounded,
found himself alone in his trench, from which his comrades had been driven
by a strong party of German bomb-throwers. The Germans were in a
trench only some fifteen or twenty yards distant, so close that Dwyer could
hear them talking; and the brave lad, aware that if they took his trench the
trenches behind would be at their mercy, resolved to hazard his own life
to save his comrades. Collecting all the grenades he could find, he climbed
on to the parapet of the trench and began throwing them at the Germans.
His appearance in this exposed popition wa'l, of course, the signal for a
hail of bombs; but happily the Germans' aim was bad, while his own
throwing was most accurate and effective. In fact, he succeeded single–
handed in keeping the enemy at bay until reinforcements arrived, and the
trench he had so heroically defended was saved. Dwyer wa'l wounded on
27 April, and sent to the military hospital at Etretat, and it was not till
nearly a month later that he learned that he had been awarded the Yictoria
Cross. He was decorated by the King himself at Buckingham Palace,
28 June, 1915, His Majesty shaking hands with him very cordially and
complimenting him on his performance." Private Dwyer's Victoria Cross
was gazetted 22 May, 1915: "Edward Dwyer, No. 10523, Private, 1st
Battn. East Surrey Regt. Date of Act of Bravery: 20 April, 1915. For
most conspicuou,> bravery and devotion to duty at Hill 60, on thfl 20th of
April, 1915. When his trench was heavily attacked by German grenade–
thrower.::, he climbed on
to
the parapet, and although subjected to a hail
of bO!llbs at close quarter.>, succeeded in dispersing the enemy by the
effectIve use of his
hand-grena~es.
Private Dwyer displayed great
gallantry earlier in this day in leaving his trench, under heavy shell-fire, to
bandage his wounded comrades." He is said to have been the youngest
soldier who ever won the Victoria Cross. He was promoted
to
Corporal.
On 4 Sept.. 1916, he was killed in action at Guillemont. The" Daily Tele–
grap~l
" .said: "The sad news was conveyed to his parents at their home
at Lmtame Grove, Fulham, S.W., by a letter which arrived from hip Colonel
on Saturday, and which told them that' the little Corporal' had fallen while
gallantly leading his men. London, and particularly his own borough of
Fulhl'}I?' was eager .to fete this stripling of 19 when he won the greatest of
all mtlltary decoratlOns, but he turned his thoughts to more serious matters.
It was in April, 1915, and we needed men for the Army. The' little
Corporal' threw himself whole-heartedly into the work of getting them.
Any recruiting 'Platform could command his services, and his ready Irish
~on.gue-wi~h
an eloquence of pleading or scorn which astonished his most
mtimate fnends-taught many a man his duty. Just before Christmas
Corpl. Dwyer was quietly married to Miss Freeman , a Red Cross nurse whom
he had met while lying wounded in a French hospital. The wedding took
place at St. Thomas's, Fulham, to which church Dwyer, an earnest Catholic,
was devotedly attached. After he had received his decoration from the
King
h~
addressed the scholars in the day school, and, pointing to his old
~eat,
saId: 'That is the first place where I learned discipline, and discipline
IS the mamstay of our Army.' 'Almost his last words to us here,' said
Father Brown to a representative of the' Daily Telegraph,' 'were sadly
prop~etic.
"I'm going to the front again in a few days, and the general
rule IS that a V.C. gets knocked out the second time.'"
The Dwyer
family has a proud record of service. The father, although 50 years of
.age, joined the Army Service Corps, and served in the Eastern Campaign.
He has been invalided out of the Army. The eldest son is at Salonika, and
the youngest lying in hospital, wounded. At the church of St. Thomas of
Canterbury, Fulham, a high mass was celebrated yesterday for the repose
of th.e soul of CorpI. Edward Dwyer, East urrey Regt., the youngest
V.C. m the Army, who was killed on 4 Sept., leading his platoon in the Big
Push.
~orpI.
Dwyer was a native of Fulham. At the age of eighteen
he won his Cross' for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty at Hill 60,
~n
20 April, 1915.' Father Crowley delivered a short address. He ex–
pressed to CorpI. Dwyer's parents, his widow and relations the heartfelt
.sympathy of the congregation and of the people of Fulham. Corpi.
Dwyer was baptized in the church and had been educated in their schools.
On the day that he received his V.C., Corpl. Dwyer said to the boys at the
scho?l where he was educated: 'This is the most eventful day of my life,
and It makes me feel I should like to do something more for my country
.and my religion.' 'This wish has been grat.ified,' added Father Crowley,
• for he has given all-he has given his life.' "
MORROW, ROBERT, Private, was born at Lessia, Newmills, Tyrone,
Ireland, son of Hugh Morrow and Mar–
garet J. Morrow. He was educated at
Carland Nationalist School, and joined the
Army in 1912 in the 1st Battn. Royal
Irish Fusiliers as a Private. He served
in the European ' ' ' 'ar, and was awarded the
Yictoria Cross [London Gazette, 22 May,
1915] : "Private Robert
~Iorrow,
1 t
Battn. Princess Yictoria's (Royal Irish
Fusiliers). For most conspicuous bravery
near Messines on 12 April, 1915, when
he rescued and carried to places of com–
parative safety several men who had heen
buried in the dehris of trenches wrecked
by shell fire. Privat.e Morrow carried out
this gallant work on his own initiatin, and
under heavy shell fire from the enemy."
Robert Morrow.
He was killed in action on 25 April, 1915.
The Cross was sent to his mother, who is
a widow, and she took it to London, where she recei,'ed it from the King's
hands at an Investiture at Buckingham Palace. He also held the
~iedal
of St. George, 3rd Class, conferred on him by the Emperor of Russia. This
is the first Victoria Cross won by the regiment-The Faugh-a-Ballaghs–
though they are a renowned fighting regiment. Private Morrow is being
included in a large commemoration painting which is being executed for
t.he French Government by
~L
Cairier-Bellew.
RHODES-MOORHOUSE, WILLIAM BARNARD, Second Lieut.,
was born in London , 26 Sept. 1887, elder son of Edward :\Ioorhouse, of
Parnham House, Beaminster , Dorsetshire, and
~ary
Anne, daughter of the
Hon. William Barnard Rhodes, J\1.L.C.,
?\ew Zealand. He was educated at The
Golden Parsonage, Hertfordshire: at
Harrow, and at Trinity College, Cambridge.
After leaving Cambridge he was engaged
in monoplane experiments at Huntingdon
in 1909 and 1910, and has been truthfully
dt-scribed as " one of the pioneers of ayia–
tion in England." He made many long
flights before he took his pilot's certificate
in Oct. 1911, and was then considered
"probably the finest cross-country flier
in this country, and quite the equal of
anyone abroad." He finished third in the
_.\.e·rial Derby for 1912, and the same year
established a record in aviation as the first
pilot to make a Channel-crossing with two
w.
B. Rhodes-Moorhouse. passengers, one of whom was his wife.
Soon after joining the Royal
Flyin~
Corps
in Aug. 1914, he was placed in charge of workshops at Aircraft Park, South
Farnborough, and remained there till 20 :\'larch, 1915, when he was sent out
to the front
to
join the Ko. 2 Squadron. Ko. 1 ' ' 'ing, at Merville, as a flyin.g
o~1cer.
His promotion to the rank of Lieutenant was
gaze~ted a~ter
Ius
death, to rank as from 24 April, 1915. On :\[onday, 26 Apnl, durmg the
Second Battle of Ypres, an urgent message came
th~ough
f!om
Headquar~
ters, ordering the immediate destruct;ion of the rall.way lme at Courtral
Junction to pre\'ent the bringing up of Germ?-n rem.forcements, a,nd he
was detailed for this important task, his instructions bemg " to use hIS
OWll
discretion as to the
~leight
at which he would drop his bomb." He left
:\lerville flying ground at 3.5 r.m., and
retu~ned
agam
mor~a:lIy
wounded at
4.15, ha\'ing piloted his machine over 35 nuies under condItions of extreme
difficulty after receiving his first serious wound. He made a full report
before he was taken to hospital, so that Sir John French was able to record
the destruction of Courtrai Junction in his Report from Headquarters
despatched the same evening. He died of his wounds next day, but hefort–
his death received the following message: " But for
pre~syre
of urgent
'~'ork
the
Field-~arshal
Commanding-in-Chief would have nSlted Second LIeut.
Moorhouse himself to express his admiration of his
c~urage
aml. the
~'ay
he
carried out his nuties yesterday." The Battle of I pres was then m pro–
gress, and :\Ien'ille was over 30 miles from
Genera~ Headq~larters. T~e
following are extract.s from the official report Of.
111S"
explOl t:
Fro~n
Sn
John French's Report from Headquart.ers, 26 Apnl: One .of
o~r
amnen
bombed Courtrai Station this afternoon and destroyed the Junction. Al–
though wounded, he brought his machine bar:k to our lines." Extract fr?m
the Daily Bulletin issued to the troops (first Issued by
reql~est
to the Indla:n
Corps), who" had seen him flying back, and were so. Impressed by Ius
astounding courage" that they asked for ftyther detatls and translated
them into Hindustani and it was afterwards Cll'culated among all our troops
at the Front. Dated 29 April, 1915:
"~riti~h
Air. Raid on Courtrai.
Details are now to hand of the successful all' raId carned out. on the
26t~1
instant and mentioned in yesterday'S bulletin. .It is a. story of
am~zing
gallantry and heroism, and is worthy of speCIal. notice.
~he
aVIator,
Second Lieut. W.
B.
Rhodes-Moorhouse, left :\1erVllle at 3.5 m the after–
noon, alone in a biplane, to drop a heavy bomb on the railway junc.t.ion at.
Courtrai. Arriving at his destination, he vol-planed do\m to a heIght of
300 feet, and successfully dropped the bomb. on his objective,
t~e.
effect
~f
the explosion being felt. by the aviator at a heIght of 300 feet. "" hile at. tlus
low altitude he was subject to a tornado of fire from thousands of nfles,
machine guns and shell fire. He was severely
w?un~ed
in the thigh (part
of which was torn away), but instead of descending
~nto th~
German
h~e
,
where his life might have heen saved, and to prevent his machme
f~0!ll fa~lmg
into the hands of the Germans, he turned and made for the Bnhsh hnes.
To increase his peed he de cended a further 200 feet, and crossed the Gel':=-