Norman Augustus Finch
Norman Augustus Finch
|Born||26 December 1890|
|Died||15 March 1966 (aged 75)|
|Years of service||1908–1929|
|Unit||Royal Marine Artillery|
|Battles/wars||First World War|
Second World War
Meritorious Service Medal
Mentioned in Despatches
|Other work||Yeoman of the Guard|
Norman Augustus Finch VC, MSM (26 December 1890 – 15 March 1966) was a Royal Marines soldier and an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Early life and career
Finch was born 26 December 1890 in Birmingham. He enlisted in the Royal Marines in January 1908 and received basic training at Eastney. For the next four years he served on various ships and shore stations and in June 1913 was promoted to bombardier. This was soon followed by further rises to corporal in 1915 and sergeant in 1917. He joined the 4th Battalion on 23 March 1918.
On 22/23 April 1918 at Zeebrugge, Belgium, Sergeant Finch was second in command of the pom-poms and Lewis gun in the foretop of HMS Vindictive. At one period Vindictive was being hit every few seconds, but Sergeant Finch and the officer in command kept up a continuous fire, until two heavy shells made direct hits on the foretop killing or disabling everyone except Sergeant Finch who was, however, severely wounded. Nevertheless, he remained in his battered and exposed position, harassing the enemy on the Mole until the foretop received another direct hit, putting the remainder of the armament completely out of action. His award was by virtue of ballot.
Later career and life
Finch retired with the rank of quartermaster sergeant in December 1929, though returned to the Portsmouth Division in 1938. He appears to have spent most of the Second World War as Quarter Master, serving as a Storekeeper Officer (Lieutenant) at 104 (Training) RM Brigade, R.M. Training Group Dalditch, then Devon. On 15 August 1945 he was released from service and in 1964 was made Divisional Sergeant-Major of HM Bodyguard of the Yeoman of the Guard. He died 15 March 1966.
Finch was a Freemason and was initiated into Lodge of Hope No. 2153 at Portsmouth on 18 September 1918. He was subsequently a founding member of Royal Marine Portsmouth Lodge No. 6423 when it was consecrated on 23 April 1947, and was their first Senior Warden. The following year he was installed as their second Worshipful Master – on the thirtieth anniversary of the Zeebrugge Raid.
- "Norman Augustus Finch - WW1 memorial and Life Story". Imperial War Museum & D C Thompson. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- "No. 30807". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 July 1918. p. 8586.
- "Five freemasons from the province who won VCs". Insight (The Journal of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Freemasonry) (14): 18–19. November 2017.
- "Hampshire lodge commemorate 100th anniversary of Sgt Norman Augustus Finch VC". Freemasonry Today website. 21 May 2018.
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- VCs of the First World War - The Naval VCs (Stephen Snelling, 2002)