Daniel Burges

Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Burges, VC, DSO (1 July 1873 – 24 October 1946) 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.

Daniel Burges
Victoria Cross Medal without Bar.png
Born1 July 1873
London, England
Died24 October 1946 (aged 73)
Bristol, Gloucestershire
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service1893–1923
RankLieutenant Colonel
UnitGloucestershire Regiment
Commands held10th (Service) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment
7th Battalion, South Wales Borderers
Battles/warsSecond Boer War
First World War
AwardsUK Victoria Cross ribbon bar.svg Victoria Cross
Dso-ribbon.png Distinguished Service Order
CroixdeGuerreFR-BronzePalm.png Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)
GRE War Cross 1917 2nd class ribbon.svg War Cross (Greece) (2nd Class)


Burges was educated at Winchester College. He was commissioned on 21 October 1893 as a second lieutenant into the Gloucestershire Regiment, and was promoted to lieutenant on 8 July 1897.[1] Following the outbreak of the Second Boer War in late 1899, Burges was with the 2nd battalion of his regiment as they were sent to South Africa in January 1900. He participated in the Relief of Kimberley, operations in the Orange Free State, actions at Poplar Grove, Driefontein, Vet River, Zand River, the operations in the Transvaal, Rhenoster Kop, operations in Orange River Colony and in Cape Colony.[2] For his service in the war, he received the Queen's South Africa Medal with four claps, and the King's South Africa Medal with two clasps.[3] Burges stayed in South Africa until the end of the war in June 1902, and returned to Southampton on the SS Orcana in November 1902.[4]

Burges was promoted to captain on 25 October 1903. From 1908 to 1913 he was adjutant of the Punjab Volunteer Rifles. At the start of World War I he was with the 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment with which he served at the Second Battle of Ypres where he was wounded and Mentioned in dispatches. After recovering from his wound he was appointed Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel to command the 10th (Service) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment (the 'Hull Commercials') on 11 November 1915. The battalion had just arrived at Fovant on Salisbury Plain to undergo intensive battle training with 31st Division before embarking for service overseas. It served in Egypt, guarding the Suez Canal from December to February 1916, when it was transferred to the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front.[5][6][3]

Lewis gun section of the 10th Bn East Yorks (Hull Commercials) near Doullens, 28 June 1916.

Over forthcoming weeks the battalion took its turn in the routine of trench holding, working parties, patrolling and trench raiding. The 10th Battalion was to be in support of 31st Division's assault on the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1 July). It held the front line trenches during the British bombardment in the days leading up to the battle, suffering significant casualties from the German counter-bombardment (about 100 killed and wounded for 10th Bn alone).[7]

It is alleged that Lt-Col Burges was removed from his command the day before the battle for refusing to risk any more men after two failed attempts to recover the body of an officer (son of a well-known politician) from No man's land during the bombardment.[8] Burges left 10th Bn East Yorks on 30 June to become an instructor at the Senior Officers' School. In September 1917 Burges took command of the 7th Bn South Wales Borderers at Salonika.[3]


He was 45 years old, and a temporary lieutenant-colonel in The Gloucestershire Regiment commanding the 7th (S) Battalion, The South Wales Borderers, British Army, during the First World War at the Battle of Doiran when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 18 September 1918 at Jumeaux, in the Balkans, valuable reconnaissance of the enemy front line trenches enabled Lieutenant Colonel Burges to bring his battalion, without casualties, to the assembly point, but later while some distance from the objective they came under severe machine-gun fire. Although he himself was wounded the colonel continued to lead his men with skill and courage until he was hit again twice and fell unconscious. He was taken prisoner by the Bulgarians, but was abandoned in a dug-out with one of his legs shattered.[3][9][10]

In retirement Burges served as Resident Governor and major of the Tower of London from 1 July 1923[11] to 1 July 1933.[12] He later joined the British Fascists.[13] He moved to Durdham Down, near Bristol, and from 1943 to 1945 he was county director of the British Red Cross.[3]

A marble plaque was unveiled at Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol, on 24 October 2006 (which was 60 years to the day after he died) by Les Turner.[14]


Burges married Katherine Blanche Fortescue, second daughter of the late Captain Edmund Fortescue of the Rifle Brigade, in 1905. They had no children, and she died in 1931. In 1932 he married Mrs Florence Wray Taylor, daughter of the late W.G. Cox of Nutgrove, Rathfarnham, Dublin.[3]


  1. ^ Hart's Army List, 1899.
  2. ^ Hart's Army list, 1903
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bilton, Appendix 17.
  4. ^ "The Army in South Africa – Troops returning home". The Times. No. 36918. London. 6 November 1902. p. 9.
  5. ^ Monthly Army List, August 1914.
  6. ^ Bilton, pp. 65–95.
  7. ^ Bilton, pp. 102–36.
  8. ^ Middlebrook, p. 92.
  9. ^ Wakefield & Moody, p. 204.
  10. ^ "No. 31067". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 December 1918. p. 14774.
  11. ^ "No. 32843". The London Gazette. 10 July 1923. p. 4787.
  12. ^ "No. 33955". The London Gazette. 30 June 1933. p. 4383.
  13. ^ Linehan, Thomas; Linehan, Thomas E.; Thomas Linehan, Dr; Linehan, Thomas P. (2000). British Fascism, 1918–39: Parties, Ideology and Culture. ISBN 9780719050244.
  14. ^ "Daniel Burges VC". VictoriaCross.org.uk. Retrieved 21 November 2010.


  • David Bilton, Hull Pals, 10th, 11th 12th and 13th Battalions East Yorkshire Regiment – A History of 92 Infantry Brigade, 31st Division, Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2014, ISBN 978-1-78346-185-1.
  • Martin Middlebrook, The First Day on the Somme, 1 July 1916, London: Allen Lane 1971/Fontana, 1975, ISBN 0-00-633626-4.
  • Alan Wakefield and Simon Moody, Under the Devil's Eye: Britain's Forgotten Army at Salonika 1915–1918, Stroud: Sutton, 2004, ISBN 0-7509-3537-5.

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