Charles Ward (VC)
10 July 1877|
Leeds, West Yorkshire
|Died||30 December 1921
|Buried at||St Mary's Churchyard, Cardiff|
|Rank||Company Sergeant Major|
|Unit||The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry|
|Battles/wars||Second Boer War|
Charles Burley Ward VC (10 July 1877 – 30 December 1921) 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.
Ward was 22 years old, and a private in the 2nd Battalion, The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, British Army during the Second Boer War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC:
On the 26th June, 1900, at Lindley, a picquet of the Yorkshire Light Infantry was surrounded on three sides by about 500 Boers, at close quarters. The two Officers were wounded and all but six of their men were killed or wounded. Private Ward then volunteered to take a message asking for reinforcements to the Signalling Station about 150 yards in the rear of the post. His offer was at first refused owing to the practical certainty of his being shot; but, on his insisting, he was allowed to go. He got across untouched through a storm of shots from each flank, and, having delivered his message, he voluntarily returned from a place of absolute safety, and recrossed the fire-swept ground to assure his Commanding Officer that the message had been sent.
On this occasion he was severely wounded. But for this gallant action the post would certainly have been captured.
Ward was the last winner of the VC to be decorated by Queen Victoria and later achieved the rank of company sergeant-major.
A (silent) movie interview with Pte Ward following his award of the VC was filmed by the Lancashire cinematographers Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon; sealed in steel barrels after their company went out of business in the 1920s, the 800 films of their archive were discovered during demolition work in 1994, and have now been restored by the British Film Institute.
The original film can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fueiGbS2z5c
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- Victoria Crosses of the Anglo-Boer War (Ian Uys, 2000)