30 May 1904|
Meynell Langley, Derbyshire
|Died||29 September 1935
Khyber Pass, India
|Buried||Guides Chapel, Mardan|
|Service/branch||British Indian Army|
|Years of service||1926–1935|
|Unit||12th Frontier Force Regiment|
|Battles/wars||1935 Mohmand Campaign|
|Relations||Hugo Anthony Meynell (son)
Godfrey Meynell MBE (son)
Godfrey Meynell (Grandson)
Godfrey Meynell VC, MC (30 May 1904 – 29 September 1935) was a British Indian Army officer and 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.
Early life and education
Meynell was the son of an army officer and won a scholarship to Eton College. He was commended to Cyril Connolly when he arrived there as a boy with character. After an initial amount of bullying, the two became firm friends as described in Enemies of Promise.
On 29 September 1935 at Mohmand, in the Nahaqi Pass within the Khyber Pass on the North West Frontier, in the final phase of an attack, Captain Meynell, seeking information on the most forward troops, found them involved in a struggle against an enemy vastly superior in numbers. He at once took command, and with two Lewis guns and about thirty men, maintained a heavy and accurate fire on the advancing enemy, whose overwhelming numbers nevertheless succeeded in reaching the position and putting the Lewis guns out of action. In the hand-to-hand struggle which ensued, Captain Meynell was mortally wounded, but the heavy casualties inflicted on the enemy prevented them from exploiting their success.
Regimental records suggest that when the bodies of his men were mutilated by the enemy (as was their custom), Captain Meynell sought to defend those bodies even as he himself was dying.
Captain Meynell’s Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously, and given to his widow during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in July 1936. His body is laid to rest at the Guides Chapel in Mardan, near Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province, where he and his wife were married. Captain Meynell and his wife, Sophia Patricia (Jill) Meynell, were both speakers of Urdu. Meynell's son, Hugo Anthony Meynell, was born six months after his death.