Saturday, November 08, 2014

Harold Whitfield VC - an ironic death in Shropshire

One of my weekly pleasures is the Pictures in the Past selection on the Shropshire Star website.

This Friday one of the pictures had a caption that gets a little sadder every time I read it:
A hero at work - Harold Whitfield, who won the Victoria Cross in 1918, at work at Express Dairies, Whittington. He was killed in a road accident while riding home from work in December, 1956. He was knocked of his bicycle by an Army jeep.
Wikipedia tells the story of Whitfield's heroism:
He was 31 years old, and a private in the 10th Battalion, The King's Shropshire Light Infantry, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. 
On 10 March 1918 at Burj El Lisaneh, Egypt, during the first of three counter-attacks made by the enemy on the position which had just been captured by his battalion, Private Whitfield, single-handed, charged and captured a Lewis gun, killed the whole gun team and turned the gun on the enemy, driving them back with heavy casualties. 
Later he organised and led a bombing attack on the enemy, again inflicting many casualties and by establishing his party in their position saved many lives and materially assisted in the defeat of the counter-attack.
Later. There is more about Harold Whitfield VC on the Shropshire Regimental Museum website.That museum is housed in the remains of Shrewsbury Castle, above the railway station.

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