Alexander Malins Lafone
|Alexander Malins Lafone|
|Born||19 August 1870
|Died||27 October 1917 (aged 47)
El Buggar (Zeelim), southern Palestine
|Buried at||Beersheba War Cemetery|
1/1st County of London Yeomanry
|Battles/wars||Second Boer War
World War I
Alexander Malins Lafone VC (19 August 1870 – 27 October 1917) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was educated at Dulwich College. Lafone fought in the Second Boer War in various regiments, was invalided in 1901 and ended as a lieutenant in the Imperial Yeomanry. He then stayed on in Africa working for the Colonial Office as an Assistant Resident in Northern Nigeria. Recurrent attacks of fever forced him back to England where he worked and kept up his connections with the Army.
Lafone was 47 years old when he was awarded the VC. He was a major in the 1/1st (County of London) Yeomanry (Middlesex, Duke of Cambridge's) British Army during the First World War when he participated on 27 October 1917 at the Battle of Buqqar Ridge, at the end of the Stalemate in Southern Palestine, during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign.
His citation from the London Gazette reads:
Maj. Alexander Malins Lafone, late Yeo. For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and self-sacrifice when holding a position for over seven hours against vastly superior enemy forces. All this time the enemy were shelling his position heavily, making it very difficult to see. In one attack, when the enemy cavalry charged his flank, he drove them back with heavy losses. In another charge they left fifteen casualties within twenty yards of his trench, one man, who reached the trench, being bayoneted by Maj. Lafone himself.
When all his men, with the exception of three, had been hit and the trench which he was holding was so full of wounded that it was difficult to move and fire, he ordered those who could walk to move to a trench slightly in the rear, and from his own position maintained a most heroic resistance. When finally surrounded and charged by the enemy, he stepped into the open and continued the fight until he was mortally wounded and fell unconscious. His cheerfulness and courage were a splendid inspiration to his men, and by his leadership and devotion he was enabled to maintain his position, which he had been ordered to hold at all costs.
Today the 1/1st (County of London) Yeomanry (Middlesex, Duke of Cambridge's) is succeeded by 47th (Middlesex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron
- Dulwich College website
- London Gazette, 14 December 1917 No. 30433, p.13222.