William Charles Williams
|William Charles Williams|
Deck gun from SM UB-91 as a memorial in Chepstow
15 September 1880|
Stanton Lacy, Shropshire
|Died||25 April 1915
Cape Helles, Gallipoli
|Battles/wars||World War I †|
William Charles Williams VC (15 September 1880 – 25 April 1915) was a British 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.
Williams was born in Stanton Lacy in Shropshire, England, but raised in Chepstow, Wales. He joined the Royal Navy as a young sailor, but left in 1910, joining the reserve force and working in the police force and in a steel works in Newport. He rejoined the Navy in 1914 on being mobilised at the start of the First World War. He was 34 years old, and an able seaman in the Navy, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 25 April 1915 during the landing on V Beach, Cape Helles, Gallipoli, Turkey, Williams, with three other men (George Leslie Drewry, Wilfred St. Aubyn Malleson and George McKenzie Samson) was assisting the commander (Edward Unwin) of their ship, HMS River Clyde (previously the SS River Clyde) at the work of securing the lighters. He held on to a rope for over an hour, standing chest deep in the sea, under continuous enemy fire. He was eventually dangerously wounded and later killed by a shell whilst his rescue was being effected by the commander who described him as the bravest sailor he had ever met.
There are two memorials to him in Chepstow - a painting in St Mary's Church, as well as a gun from a German submarine presented by King George V which stands in the town's main square beside the war memorial.