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The Staffordshire Regiment

The Victoria Crosses

Created in 1856 the Victoria Cross is Britain’s highest recognition for bravery in the presence of the enemy.

From the Indian Mutiny to the Second World War, thirteen Victoria Crosses have been awarded to the Staffordshire Regiment.

The Indian Mutiny 1857 - 1858

Drummer Thomas Flynn, VC

FlynnOn 28th November 1857, Cawnpore, India, the 64th regiment attacked a besieging mutineer gun battery. Flynn was severely wounded in the successful charge but continued to fight hand to hand against two of the enemy.

Zulu War 1879

Private Samuel Wassall, VC

WassallOn 22nd January 1879 during the battle of Isandhlwana, Wassall was part of a Mounted infantry attached to the central column when it was overwhelmed by Zulus. Some managed to escape to the Buffalo River to the rear but as Wassall urged his horse down the bank he saw a comrade drowning. Wassell dismounted and rescued him under enemy fire successfully escaping.

Sergeant Anthony Clarke Booth, VC

BoothOn 12th March 1879 Sergeant Booth was with a company of 80th Regiment encamped on the Intombi River when they were surprised and overwhelmed by Zulus. Booth rallied the survivors and conducted their retreat for three miles.

The Great War 1914-18

Sergeant John Carmichael, VC

CarmichaelOn 8th September 1917, during the Third Battle of Ypres, whilst serving in the 9th North Stafford’s, Sergeant Carmichael was in charge of a working party in a trench near Hill 60. One of his men accidently dislodged a grenade activating its fuse. Sergeant Carmichael shouted a warning and placed his steel helmet over the grenade and stood on it. He was wounded but saved his soldiers.

Lieutenant. Colonel Edward Ellers Delaval Henderson, VC

HendersonOn 25th January 1917 he led his battalion against Turkish positions at Kut-Al-Amara but was wounded and forced to withdraw. He led a second attack again being wounded eventually capturing the position by a bayonet charge. Wounded twice more before being evacuated but died shortly afterwards.

Captain John Franks Vallentin, VC

VellentinOn 7th November 1914 he was in temporary command of the 1st battalion South Staffordshire Regiment in an attack on a trench near Zillebeke, Ypres. He was wounded but pressed on and was later killed by machinegun fire. The attack was a success due to his inspiring example.

Lance Corporal William Harold Coltman, VC, DCM, MM.

ColtmanIn October 1918 during the assault on the Hindenburg line, and in the face of a German counter-attack, he three times went out into the open to give first aid to wounded men and carry them back to safety. Due to his heroic actions William Coltman has become the most decorated other rank in the British Army.

Private Thomas Barrett, VC

BarrettOn 27th July 1917 in the Ypres Salient Barrett was acting as scout with a patrol and had already stalked and shot several snipers, when the patrol was forced to withdraw. Barrett covered their retirement, whilst under heavy fire and caused a number of enemy casualties, but on reaching our own lines safely he was killed by a stray shell.

Sergeant John Thomas, VC

ThomasOn 30th November 1917 at Bourlon Wood Thomas went forward under enemy fire to ascertain German intentions. Shooting three snipers en route, he reached a building used by the enemy as a night listening post. He observed enemy preparations and returned after three hours providing information which enabled artillery to break up the German attack.

Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby, VC, MC

KilbyOn 25th September 1915 during the Battle of Loos he led his company in an attack on the La Bassee Canal. He was wounded, and had lost a foot, but led his men right up to the wire where he was shot down. He continued to urge his men forward using his rifle until he died.

World War II

Lieutenant George Albert Cairns, VC

CairnsOn 12th March 1944 in Burma as part of the ‘Chindits’ he led his men in an attack on ‘Pagoda Hill’. A Japanese officer hacked off his left arm with a sword and although severely wounded continued to lead his men, personally killing several of the enemy before collapsing and dying.

Major Robert Henry Cain, VC

CainFrom 19th September 1944 over a period of several days Major Cain led the defence of part of the Oosterbeek perimeter near Arnhem. On several occasions he successfully attacked enemy tanks using a PIAT. Although suffering multiple wounds he encouraged his men by his daring leadership and fearless example refusing rest and medical attention.

Lance Sergeant John (Jack) Daniel Baskeyfield, VC

BaskeyfieldOn 20th September 1944 at Arnhem he commanded two 6-pdr Anti-Tank guns in defensive positions at Oosterbeek. His section repulsed a German attack destroying two tanks and a self propelled gun but Baskeyfield and his section were all wounded. Baskeyfield refused first aid and continued to use his gun until it was put out of action by enemy fire. He then crawled to another gun whose crew had been killed and with it scored a direct hit an another German self propelled gun. He was then killed by an enemy tank shell.

The awards issued to Lance Sergeant Baskeyfield and Major Cain was the only occasion during the Second World War, where two Victoria Crosses were awarded to a single army unit for the same battle.