21 October 2007

Victoria Cross: D. M. W. Beak


Temporary Commander, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve; commanding Drake Battalion, Royal Naval Division

Born: 27 July 1891, Southampton, Hampshire.

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery, courageous leadership and devotion to duty during a prolonged period of operations [at Logeast Wood, France].
He led his men in attack [on 21 August 1918], and, despite heavy machine-gun fire, four enemy positions were captured. His skilful and fearless leadership resulted in the complete success of this operation and enabled other battalions to reach their objectives.
Four days later, though dazed by a shell fragment, in the absence of the brigade commander, he reorganised the whole brigade under extremely heavy gun fire and led his men with splendid courage to their objective. An attack having been held up he rushed forward, accompanied by only one runner, and succeeded in breaking up a nest of machine-guns, personally bringing back nine or ten prisoners. His fearless example instilled courage and confidence in his men, who then quickly resumed the advance under his leadership.
On a subsequent occasion [14 September 1918] he displayed great courage and powers of leadership in attack, and his initiative, coupled with the confidence with which he inspired all ranks, not only enabled his own and a neighbouring unit to advance, but contributed very materially to the success of the Naval Division in these operations.

(London Gazette Issue 31012 dated 15 Nov 1918, published 12 Nov 1918.)

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