Richard Annesley West
|Richard Annesley West|
|Born||26 September 1878|
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
|Died||2 September 1918 (aged 39)|
|Buried||Morey Abbey Military Cemetery, Mory|
North Irish Horse
|Commands held||6th Battalion, Tank Corps|
|Battles/wars||Second Boer War|
First World War
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Mentioned in Despatches (2)
Richard Annesley West, VC, DSO & Bar, MC (26 September 1878 – 2 September 1918) was a British Army officer and an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
He was 39 years old, and an acting lieutenant colonel in the North Irish Horse, seconded to 6th Battalion, Tank Corps during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 21 August 1918 at Courcelles, France, during an attack, the infantry lost their bearings in dense fog and Lieutenant Colonel West at once collected any men he could find and led them to their objective, in face of heavy machine-gun fire. On 2 September at Vaulx-Vraucourt, he arrived at the front line when the enemy were delivering a local counter-attack. The infantry battalion had suffered heavy officer casualties and realizing the danger if they gave way, and despite the enemy being almost upon them, Colonel West rode up and down in face of certain death, encouraging the men. He fell riddled with bullets. His magnificent bravery at a critical moment so inspired the infantry that the hostile attack was defeated.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Tank Museum, Dorset, England.