Second Lieutenant Alfred Victor Smith VC (22 July 1891 – 22 December 1915), known to his family as Victor,[1] was a British Army officer and an English recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Alfred Victor Smith
Born22 July 1891
Guildford, Surrey, England
Died22 December 1915 (aged 24)
Cape Helles, Gallipoli, Ottoman Turkey
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1914–1915  
RankSecond Lieutenant
UnitEast Lancashire Regiment
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsVictoria Cross
Croix de Guerre (France)
Other workPolice officer

Smith was 24 years old, and a Second lieutenant in the 1/5th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, British Army on 22 December 1915 at Helles, Gallipoli, Ottoman Turkey during the First World War, and who died in action for which he was awarded the VC. His citation reads:

For most conspicuous bravery. He was in the act of throwing a grenade when it slipped from his hand and fell to the bottom of the trench close to several officers and men. He immediately shouted a warning and jumped clear to safety. He then saw that the officers and men were unable to find cover and knowing that the grenade was due to explode at any moment, he returned and flung himself upon it. He was instantly killed by the explosion. His magnificent act of self-sacrifice undoubtedly saved many lives.[2]

He is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery in the Gallipoli peninsula, although the precise location of his grave within the cemetery is not known.[3][4] He was also awarded a French Croix de Guerre.

Alfred Victor Smith’s father was a Police officer and although Alfred was born in Guildford, the family moved several times in his youth, and Alfred sang as a boy chorister in St Albans Cathedral Choir. At 14 his father was appointed chief constable of Burnley, and they moved to the town, with Alfred completing his education at Burnley Grammar School. After leaving school he joined Blackpool Borough Police force.[5] He is named on commemorative plaques within the former Burnley Grammar School, St Catherine's Church, Burnley, St Albans Cathedral, and the current Blackpool Police headquarters.

In November 2015 a commemorative stone was unveiled in Guildford.[6]

His VC, along with other items, is on display at the Towneley Hall museum in Burnley.

References Edit

  1. ^ "Commemorative stone unveiled". 12 November 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  2. ^ "No. 29496". The London Gazette. 3 March 1916. p. 2349.
  3. ^ extract from the London Gazette, 3 March 1916 Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  4. ^ "Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery". Digger History. Archived from the original on 3 March 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  5. ^ Dominic Collis (12 November 2015). "Burnley war hero remembered". Burnley Express. Johnston Press. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Commemorative stone unveiled". Guildford Borough Council. Retrieved 16 November 2015.

Further reading Edit