John William Sayer

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John William Sayer
John William Sayer VC.jpg
Born 12 April 1879
Ilford, Essex
Died 18 April 1918(1918-04-18) (aged 39)
Le Verguier, France
Buried at Le Cateau Military Cemetery
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1916 - 1918
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross

John William Sayer VC (12 April 1879 – 18 April 1918) 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 38 years old, and a Lance Corporal in the 8th Battalion, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment),[1] British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 21 March 1918 at Le Verguier, France, Lance Corporal Sayer held the flank of a small isolated post for two hours. Owing to mist the enemy approached from both sides to within 30 yards before being discovered, but the lance corporal, on his own initiative without assistance, beat off a succession of attacks, inflicting heavy losses. During the whole time he was exposed to heavy fire but his contempt of danger and skill in the use of his fire-arms enabled the post to hold out until nearly all the garrison had been killed and he himself wounded and captured. He died as a result of wounds four weeks later.[2][3]

Sayer's actions on the day have been cited as having an immense effect on holding back the German offensive which stalled as they were held up by the Queen's Regiment defence.[4]