25 October 2009

Victoria Cross: G. Meynell


Captain, 5th Battalion (Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides), 12th Frontier Force Regiment, Indian Army

Born: 30 May 1904, Meynell Langley, Derbyshire
Died: 29 September 1935, Mohmand, North West Frontier, India (now Pakistan)

Citation: For most conspicuous gallantry and extreme devotion to duty.
On the 29th September, 1935, while operating against Mohmand tribesmen in the attack on Point 4080, Captain Meynell was Adjutant of the Battalion. In the final phase of the attack, the Battalion Commander was unable to get information from his most forward troops. Captain Meynell went forward to ascertain the situation and found the forward troops on the objective, but involved in a struggle against an enemy vastly superior in numbers. Seeing the situation he at once took over command of the men in this area. The enemy, by this time, was closing in on the position from three sides.
Captain Meynell had at his disposal two Lewis guns and about thirty men. Although this party was maintaining heavy and accurate fire on the advancing enemy, the overwhelming numbers of the latter succeeded in reaching the position. Both the Lewis guns were damaged beyond repair and a fierce hand to hand struggle commenced.
During the struggle Captain Meynell was mortally wounded and all his men were either killed or wounded.
Throughout the action Captain Meynell endeavoured by all means to communicate the situation to Headquarters, but determined to hold on at all costs and encouraged his men to fight with him to the last.
By so doing he inflicted on the enemy very heavy casualties which prevented them from exploiting their success.
The fine example Captain Meynell set to his men, coupled with his determination to hold the position to the last, maintain the traditions of the Army and reflect the highest credit on the fallen officer and his comrades.

(London Gazette Issue 34235 dated 24 Dec 1935, published 24 Dec 1935.)

Note: This was the only Victoria Cross presented by HM King Edward VIII during his reign.
For their service during the Mohmand operations on the North West Frontier in 1935, Capt F J Doherty MB, Indian Medical Service, and Lieut G J Hamilton, Corps of Guides, were made Companions of the Distinguished Service Order; Lieut J N D Tyler, Royal Artillery, was awarded the Military Cross; and Gunner E A Thomas, Royal Artillery, was awarded the Military Medal.

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