John Vallentin

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John Franks Vallentin
Born (1882-05-14)14 May 1882
Lambeth, London, England
Died 7 November 1914(1914-11-07) (aged 32)
Zillebeke, Belgium
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1899–1914
Rank Captain
Unit Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
Royal Sussex Regiment
South Staffordshire Regiment
Battles/wars Second Boer War
World War I
Awards Victoria Cross

John Franks Vallentin, VC (14 May 1882 – 7 November 1914) 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.

Vallentin was the nephew of Brevet-Major John Maximilian Vallentin (1865–1901) and of the noted naturalist Rupert Vallentin (1859–1934). His grandfather Sir James Vallentin (1814–1870) was Knight Sheriff of London, and his cousin Archibald Thomas Pechey, the lyricist and author, adapted the family name for his nom de plume 'Valentine'.

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 6th (Militia) Battalion of the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) in 1899, and promoted to lieutenant in the battalion on 25 July 1900. He served in the Second Boer War in South Africa where he was attached to the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment. Following the end of hostilities in early June 1902, he left Cape Town with the other men of the Regiment on board the SS Wakool,[1] and arrived at Southampton the next month.

He later transferred to a Territorial Force battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, and then to the Regular Army.

Vallentin was 32 years old, and a captain in the 1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place at the first Battle of Ypres for which he was awarded the VC.

On 7 November 1914 at Zillebeke, Belgium, when leading an attack against the Germans under very heavy fire, Captain Vallentin was struck down and on rising to continue the attack, was immediately killed. The capture of the enemy's trenches which immediately followed was in a great measure due to the confidence which the men had in their captain, arising from his many previous acts of great bravery and ability.[2][3]

A memorial plaque to Vallentin in St Leonards Church, Hythe, Kent.


  1. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 10. 
  2. ^ "(Supplement) no. 29074". The London Gazette. 16 February 1916. p. 1700. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  3. ^ CWGC entry