Edmund De Wind
|Edmund De Wind|
|Born||11 December 1883
Comber, County Down
|Died||21 March 1918 (age 34)
|Years of service||1914 - 1917 (Canada)
1917 - 1918 (UK)
|Unit||15th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles|
|Battles/wars||World War I - Second Battle of the Somme|
Edmund De Wind, VC (11 December 1883 – 21 March 1918) was a British Army officer during the First World War, and posthumous 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.
De Wind was born in Comber, County Down, Ireland on 11 December 1883 to Arthur Hughes De Wind, C.E., and Margaret Jane De Wind. He was educated at Campbell College and then went to work for the Bank of Ireland, Clones branch.
De Wind was living in Canada in 1914 and working for the CIBC when World War I broke out. He served with The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada for a period of six months prior to his enlistment as a private on 16 November 1914 in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. He arrived in France with 2nd Division of C.E.F. in September 1915. He saw action in the Battle of the Somme (1916) and at Vimy Ridge (1917). He earned a commission in September 1917 in the British Army.
As a 34 year-old Second Lieutenant in the 15th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, he was awarded the VC for deeds committed during the Second Battle of the Somme on 21 March 1918. He died on that day.
For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice on the 21st March, 1918, at the Race Course Redoubt, near Grugies. For seven hours he held this most important post, and though twice wounded and practically single-handed, he maintained his position until another section could be got to his help. On two occasions, with two N.C.O.'s only, he got out on top under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and cleared the enemy out of the trench, killing many. He continued to repel attack after attack until he was mortally wounded and collapsed. His valour, self-sacrifice and example were of the highest order.''
Named on Poziers Monument. Mount De Wind, Alberta, Canada named after this VC recipient. A housing estate in his home town of Comber, Northern Ireland, is also named in his honour. A plaque memorial was erected in his old school, Campbell College, Belfast. Edmund was officially remembered in Comber on Friday 14 September 2007 through the unveiling of an Ulster History Circle "Blue Plaque" in his honour. The first memorial to de Wind is a pillar his mother caused to be carved at the main entrance on the west front of St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. The pillar bears his name and the date of his death. The west front was dedicated to the men from Northern Ireland who died in the Great War. It was dedicated in 1927.
Listed in order of publication year
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (1981, 1988 and 1997)
- Clarke, Brian D. H. (1986). "A register of awards to Irish-born officers and men". The Irish Sword XVI (64): 185–287.
- Irelands VCs (Dept of Economic Development 1995)
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- Irish Winners of the Victoria Cross (Richard Doherty & David Truesdale, 2000)