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Forces War Records Blog

VICTORIA CROSSES AWARDED AT THE BATTLE LE CATEAU

A hundred years ago on the 26th Aug, 1914 the Battle of Le Cateau was taking place after the British and French retreated from the Battle of Mons.  The Allied forces had set up defensive positions in a fighting withdrawal against the German advance at Le Cateau-Cambresis.

After the fighting the total British casualties at Le Cateau amounted to 7,812 of all rank, killed, wounded and missing.

During this rear-guard action fought by the British five Victoria Crosses were awarded for valour and “most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.".  These medals were awarded to Job Drain - Royal Field Artillery, Frederick Holmes - King’s Own, Frederick Luke - Royal Field Artillery, Charles Yate - King’s Own and Douglas Reynolds - Royal Field Artillery.

 

First Name:                       Job Henry Charles

Surname:                          Drain

DOB:                               15/10/1895

Age:                                18

Birth Town:                       Barking, Essex

Resided Town:                  Barking & Dagenham, Essex

Nationality:                       British

Resided Country:              England

Date of Action:                 26/08/1914

Date of Death:                  26/07/1975

Information:                      Later Sergeant.

More Information:              Further gazette dates: 16/10/1914 (MiD); 20/10/1914 (MiD) Further gazette pages:                                          8349 (MiD); 8381 (MiD) Further Gazette issues: 28942 (MiD); 28945 (MiD)

Rank:                               Driver

Service Number:              69960

Gazette Info:                     Driver Job Henry Charles Drain, 37th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. On 26th August 1914 at Le Cateau, France, when a captain of the same battery was trying to recapture two guns, Driver Drain and                                        another driver volunteered to help and gave great assistance in the eventual saving of one of the guns. At the time they were under heavy artillery and infantry fire from the enemy who were only 100                                          yards away.

Service:                            British Army

Regiment:                         Royal Field Artillery

Battalion:                          37th Battery

Tertiary_Unit:                     8th Brigade

Place of Death:                 Dagenham, Essex

 

 

First Name:                         Frederick William

Surname:                            Holmes

DOB:                                  13/09/1889

Age:                                  24

Birth Town:                        Tottenham, Middlesex

Resided Town:                   Tottenham, Middlesex; Bermondsey, London, Port Augusta, South Australia

Nationality:                        British

Resided Country:               England; Australia

Date of Action:                  26/08/1914

Date of Death:                  22/10/1969

Information:                      Record Office. Later Second Lieutenant and Captain. Emigrated to Australia in the 1920s.

More Information:             Further gazette dates: 16/10/1914 (MiD); 20/10/1914 (MiD) Further gazette pages: 8355 (MiD); 8387 (MiD) Further Gazette issues: 28942 (MiD); 28945 (MiD)

Rank:                              Lance Corporal

Service Number:              937

Gallantry Awards:            Victoria Cross

Gazette Info:                    VICTORIA CROSS. Lance-Corporal Frederick William Holmes, 2nd Battalion, The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. On 26th August 1914 at Le Cateau, France, Lance-Corporal Holmes carried a wounded man out of the trenches under heavy fire and later helped to drive a gun out of action by taking the place of a driver who was wounded.

Gazette Date:                  24/11/1914 (V.C.)

Gazette Page:                 9958 (V.C.); Issue: 28985 (V.C.)

Duty Location:                   Le Cateau, France; France and Flanders

Service:                           British Army

Regiment:                        King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Battalion:                         2nd Battalion

Commemorated:              Cremated Stirling North Garden Cemetery, Port Augusta, South Australia

Place of Death:                Port Augusta, South Australia

 

 

First Name:                        Frederick

Surname:                           Luke

DOB:                                 29/09/1895

Age:                                  18

Birth Town:                        West Tytherley, Near Romsey, Hampshire

Resided Town:                   West Tytherley & Lockerley, Hampshire; Glasgow

Nationality:                       British

Resided Country:              England; Scotland

Date of Action:                 26/08/1914

Date of Death:                 11/03/1983

Information:                     Later Sergeant. Served in the Second World War with the RAF Regiment. Mentioned in Despatches x 2, 8th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

More Information:            Further gazette dates: 16/10/1914 (MiD); 20/10/1914 (MiD) Further gazette pages: 8349 (MiD); 8381 (MiD) Further gazette issues: 28942 (MiD); 28945 (MiD)

Rank:                              Driver

Service Number:               71787

Gallantry Awards:             Victoria Cross

Gazette Info:                     VICTORIA CROSS,: No. 71787 Driver Frederick Luke, 37th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. On 26th August 1914 at Le Cateau, France, when a captain of the same battery was trying to save two guns which had been recaptured, Driver Luke and another driver volunteered to help and gave great assistance in the eventual saving of one of the guns. At the time they were under heavy fire from the enemy who were only 100 yards away. (See also Captain Douglas Reynolds and Driver Job Henry Charles Drain.) Gazette Date:        24/11/1914 (V.C.)

Gazette Page:                   9957 (V.C.); Issue: 28985 (V.C.)

Duty Location:                   Le Cateau, France; France and Flanders

Service:                            British Army

Regiment:                         Royal Field Artillery

Battalion:                          37th Battery

Place of Death:                 Glasgow, Scotland

 

 

First Name:                         Charles Allix Lavington

Surname:                            Yate

DOB:                                  14/03/1872

Age:                                   42

Birth Town:                         Madeley

Birth County:                     Shropshire

Nationality:                        British

Resided Country:              England

Date of Action:                 26/08/1914

Date of Death:                  20/09/1914

Fate:                               Died as a Prisoner of War

Information:                     Served in the Second Boer War. Parents: the Reverend George Edward Yate, Vicar of Madeley, Shropshire and Prebendary of Hereford; husband of Florence Helena Yate.

More Information:            Further gazette dates: 16/10/1914 (MiD); 20/10/1914 (MiD) Further gazette pages: 8355 (MiD); 8387 (MiD) Further Gazette issues: 28942 (MiD); 28945 (MiD)

Rank:                             Major

Rank (2nd):                    Acting Lieutenant-Colonel

Gallantry Awards:            Victoria Cross

Gazette Info:                    VICTORIA CROSS - Major Charles Allix Lavington Yate, 2nd Battalion, The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. On 26th August 1914 at Le Cateau, France, Major Yate commanded one of the two companies that remained to the end of the trenches, and when all other officers had been killed or wounded and ammunition exhausted, he led his 19 survivors against the enemy in a charge in which he himself was severely wounded. He was picked up by the enemy and subsequently died as a prisoner of war.

Gazette Date:                   24/11/1914 (V.C.)

Gazette Page:                  9957 (V.C.); Issue: 28985 (V.C.)

Duty Location:                  Le Cateau, France; France and Flanders

Service:                           British Army

Regiment:                        King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Battalion:                         2nd Battalion

Commemorated:              Berlin South Western Cemetery, Germany

Place of Death:                Germany

 

 

First Name:                         Douglas

Surname:                            Reynolds

DOB:                                  20/09/1882

Age:                                   31

Birth Town:                         Clifton, Bristol

Resided Town:                    Clifton, Bristol; Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Nationality:                         British

Resided Country:                England

Date of Action:                  26/08/1914

Date of Death:                  23/02/1916

Fate:                                Died of wounds.

Information:                      Later Major and Acting Lieutenant-Colonel. Husband of Mrs Douglas Reynolds, of Clerkley Court, Leatherhead, Surrey.

More Information:          Further gazette dates: 17/11/1914 (V.C.); 19/10/1914 (MiD); 31/12/1915 (MiD); 03/11/1914 (Légion d'Honneur). Further gazette pages: 9402 (V.C.); 8349 (MiD); 17 (MiD); 8880 (Légion d'Honneur). Gazette issue: 28977 (V.C.); 28942 (MiD); 29422 (MiD); 28961 (Légion d'Honneur).

Rank:                              Captain

Gallantry Awards:             Victoria Cross

Award Details:                  Award received from France during First World War (Légion d'Honneur).

Gazette Info:                     GAZETTE ISSUE 28976, VICTORIA CROSS,: The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned for their conspicuous bravery whilst serving with the Expeditionary Force:- At Le Cateau, on 26th August he took up two teams with volunteer drivers and limbered up two guns under heavy artillery and Infantry fire, and though the enemy was within 100 yards he managed, with the help of the two drivers, one gun away safely. At Pisseloup, on 9th September, he reconnoitred at close range, discovered a battery which was holding up the advance and silenced it. He was severely wounded 15th September 1914. Gazette Date:     16/11/1914 (V.C.)

Gazette Page:                   9373 (V.C.); Issue 28976 (V.C.)

Duty Location:                   Le Cateau, France; France and Flanders

Service:                            British Army

Regiment:                         Royal Field Artillery

Battalion:                          37th Battery, 83rd Brigade

Commemorated:                Etaples Military Cemetery, France; War Memorial, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; Leckhampton Churchyard, Cheltenham

Place of Death:                 Le Touquet, France

 

Read more about his actions in: Deeds That Thrill The Empire, Volume 1. 

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