Victoria Crosses

Victoria Crosses

Private. George Rodgers VC 71st Regiment (Highland Light Infantry)

For daring conduct at Marar, Gwalior, on 16 June 1858, in attacking by himself a party of seven rebels one of whom he killed. This was remarked as a valuable service, the party of rebels being well armed and strongly posted in the line of advance of a detachment of the 71st Regiment.

George Rodgers died in Glasgow in 1870 and is buried in the Southern Necropolis. His Victoria Cross is in the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum, Glasgow.

Indian Mutiny 1857


Lieutenant William M.M. Edwards VC 2nd Bn HLI

At the battle of Tel-el-Kebir, on September 13th 1882, Lieutenant Edwards displayed great courage in leading a party of his men to the attack on a redoubt. He outdistanced his followers and dashed into the Egyptian Battery, killed the Officer-in-Charge, and was knocked down by a gunner. Three of his men arriving at the moment saved him from being killed.

He later achieved the rank of Major and was appointed a Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Norfolk in 1900.

Egypt 1882


Captain Alexander G. Hore-Ruthven VC 3rd Bn HLI

1st Earl of Gowrie
(employed with Egyptian Army)

On 22nd September 1898, during the action of Gedaref, Captain Hore-Ruthven, seeing an Egyptian Officer lying wounded within 50 yards of the advancing Dervishes, who were firing and charging, picked up and carried him towards the 16th Egyptian Battalion. He dropped the wounded officer two or three times and fired on the Dervishes, who were following, to check their advance. Had the officer been left where he dropped he might have been killed.

During World War I he served on the Western Front, receiving the Distinguished Service Order and Bar, and at Gallipoli, where he was severely wounded, and Mentioned in Despatches five times. He finished the First World War as a Brigadier-General. He went on to become Governor-General of Australia. He died in 1955 aged 82. His Victoria Cross is on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum, London.

Sudan 1898


Corporal John D. F. Shaul VC 1st Bn HLI

On 11th December 1899 during the battle of Magersfontein, Corporal Shaul was observed to perform several specific acts of bravery. Corporal Shaul was in charge of the Stretcher Bearers. He was most conspicuous during the day dressing men’s wounds. He came to a man who was lying wounded in the back, and, with the utmost coolness and deliberation sat down beside the wounded man and proceeded to dress his wound. This act of gallantry was carried out under continuous and heavy fire as coolly and quickly as if there had been no enemy near.

He later achieved the rank of Bugle Major, serving 21 years in the HLI. In 1910, he emigrated to South Africa, and served in the South African Army in World War I. He died at Boksburg, South Africa in 1953, aged 80. His Victoria Cross is in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London.

South Africa 1899-02


Private Charles T. Kennedy VC 1st Bn HLI

At Dewetsdorp, on 22nd November 1900, Private Kennedy carried a comrade, dangerously wounded and bleeding to death from Gibraltar Hill to hospital for three-quarters of a mile under very hot fire. Next day, volunteers were called for to take a message across a space over which it was almost certain death to venture and Private Kennedy at once stepped forward. He did not, however, succeed in delivering the message being severely wounded before he had gone 20 yards.

He was killed in Edinburgh trying to stop a runaway horse and cart on 26th April 1907. He is buried in North Merchiston Cemetery, Edinburgh. His Victoria Cross is in the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum, Glasgow.

South Africa 1899-02


Private George Wilson VC 2nd Bn HLI

For most conspicuous gallantry on the 14th September 1914, near Verneuill, in attacking a hostile machine gun, accompanied by only one man. When the latter was killed he went on alone, shot the officer and six men working the gun, which he captured.

He died of tuberculosis aged 39 at Craigleigh Hospital and is buried in Piershill Cemetery in Edinburgh. His Victoria Cross is in the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum, Glasgow.

The Great War 1914-18


Lieutenant Walter L. Brodie VC 2nd Bn HLI

For conspicuous gallantry near Becelaere on the 11th November, 1914 in clearing the enemy out of a portion of our trenches which they had succeeded in occupying. Heading the charge, he bayoneted several of the enemy, and thereby relieved a dangerous situation. As a result of Lieutenant Brodie’s promptitude 80 of the enemy were killed and 51 taken prisoners.

Brodie later rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel but was killed in action near Moeuvres, France, on 23 August 1918. He was buried at Bienvillers Military Cemetery.

The Great War 1914-18


Lance Corporal William Angus VC 8th Bn HLI


For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Givenchy, on 12th June 1915, in voluntarily leaving his trench under very heavy fire and rescuing an officer who was lying within a few yards of the enemy position. Lance Corporal Angus had no chance of escaping the enemy’s fire when undertaking this very gallant action, and in effecting the rescue he sustained about forty wounds from bombs, some of them being very serious.

William Angus was the first Scottish territorial soldier to win the Victoria Cross. He had been a professional footballer before the war. After his return from the war he became president of Carluke Rovers FC, a position he held until his death in 1959. He is buried at Wilton Cemetery in Carluke. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the National War Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh Castle.

The Great War 1914-18


Sergeant James Y Turnbull VC 17th (Glasgow Chamber of Commerce) Bn HLI

1st July 1916. (First day of the Battle of The Somme.) For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty, when having captured with his party a post of great importance to the enemy, he was subjected to severe and continuous counter-attacks. Although his party was wiped out and replaced several times, Sergeant Turnbull never wavered in his determination to hold the post, the loss of which would have been very serious. Almost single-handed he maintained his position, and displayed the highest degree of valour and skill. Later in the day this very gallant soldier was killed while bombing a counter-attack from the parados of our trench.

Before World War I James Turnbull played rugby for Cartha Queens Park RFC. He was 32 years old when he was killed. He is buried in Lonsdale Cemetery, Authuille, France.

The Great War 1914-1918


Private John B. Hamilton VC 1/9th (Glasgow Highlanders) Bn HLI

On 25/26 September 1917 north of the Ypres-Menin Road, Belgium. For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the enemy’s attack on the line held by our Brigades. The greatest difficulty was experienced in keeping the front and support lines supplied with ammunition. As it was of vital importance that this should be got forward Lance Corporal Hamilton on several occasions on his own initiative carried bandoliers of ammunition through the enemy’s belts of fire to the front and support line, and then passing along these lines in full view of the enemy’s snipers and machine guns distributed the ammunition. By his splendid example of fearlessness and devotion to duty he inspired all who saw him with fresh confidence and renewed their determination to hold on at all costs.

He later achieved the rank of Sergeant. Between the two World Wars he remained an active reserve and Territorial Army member. At the outbreak of World War II he was in hospital and missed mobilisation, and luckily missed his unit being captured at St Valerie in the defence of Dunkirk. He eventually was promoted through the ranks and finished the war as a Colonel in charge of an Italian prisoner of war camp in England. He died at the age of 77. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle.

The Great War 1914-18


Lieutenant Colonel William Herbert Anderson VC  12th Bn HLI

On 25/3/18 at Bois Favieres, near Maricourt, France, when the enemy attack had penetrated a wood on the right of his line and there was grave danger that the flank of the whole position would be turned, Lt. Colonel Anderson gathered together the remainder of his two companies, counter-attacked and drove the Germans from the wood, capturing 12 machine guns and 70 prisoners. Later the same day, Lt. Col. Anderson led another counter-attack which resulted in the enemy being driven from his position, but the Lt. Colonel died fighting within enemy lines.

Lt. Col. William “Bertie” Anderson was one of four brothers from Lansdowne Crescent in the west end of Glasgow, who served in the HLI in WW1. They were all killed. A novel, The Way Home, written by Robin Scott-Elliot, Bertie’s great-grandson was published in 2007 telling their story. William Herbert Anderson is buried in Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, France. His Victoria Cross is on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum, London.

The Great War 1914-18


Corporal David F. Hunter VC 1/5th Bn HLI

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. On 16/17 September 1918 at Moeuvres, France, Corporal Hunter was detailed to take on an advanced post close to the enemy who drove back the posts on Corporal Hunter’s flanks and established posts in close proximity to, and around him, thus completely isolating his command. Nevertheless he maintained his position and repelled frequent attacks, until the evening of the third day, when a counter-attack relieved them. Without food and water he had held on to his post for over 48 hours. The outstanding bravery, coupled with the determination, fortitude and endurance displayed by Corporal Hunter is beyond all praise and is a magnificent example to all.

He was subsequently promoted to the rank of sergeant on 23 October 1918. He died 14 February 1965 and is buried in Dunfermline Cemetery. His Victoria Cross is in the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum, Glasgow.

The Great War 1914-18


Captain (T/Major) Frank G Blaker VC MC HLI Attached to 9th Gurkha Rifles Indian Army

9th July 1944. In Burma during an attack on a Japanese position Major Blaker’s company was held up by heavy fire at close range. Major Blaker then advanced ahead of his men through very heavy fire and, in spite of being severely wounded in the arm by a grenade, he located the machine guns, which were the first of the enemy defence and single-handedly charged the position. When hit by a burst of three rounds through the body, he continued to cheer on his men whilst lying on the ground. His fearless leadership and outstanding courage so inspired his company that they stormed the hill and captured the objective. Major Blaker died of wounds while being evacuated from the battlefield. His heroism and self-sacrifice was beyond all praise and contributed in no small way to the defeat of the enemy and to the successful outcome of the operations.

Frank Gerald Blaker was born in Kasauli, Punjab, India on 8 May June 1920. On gaining his commission in mid 1941 he served in the Highland Light Infantry, and requested to be sent out to India to be seconded to the 9th Gurkha Rifles in 1942. He became a very able commander in the jungle force that became known as the “Chindits”. Frank Blaker had a unique and rare perspective for the war in Burma, earning the Military Cross for his skill and daring in jungle operations against the Japanese in Burma in 1943, 14 months before his Victoria Cross action.

Frank Blaker’s parents, Dr Gerald Hugh Blaker (Indian Army Medical Department) and Mrs Nora Mildred Blaker, were living in Meiktila, Burma, until the war made it necessary for them to move to Tanganyika (now Tanzania). Because of slow communication lines with East Africa, Frank Blaker’s parents learned of his death through the London Gazette in an article on the posthumous award of his Victoria Cross. It was impossible for Dr and Mrs Blaker to travel to receive their son’s Victoria Cross at Buckingham Palace. The presentation was made to Frank’s brother Hugh, who was serving in the Merchant Navy at the time. The Victoria and Military Crosses were then sent to his parents in East Africa. Both decorations are today held by his family. He is buried in the Taukkyan War Cemetery, 20 miles north of Rangoon, Burma.

WORLD WAR II 1939-45