Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Ferguson

A Victoria Cross medal
A Victoria Cross medal

Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson was just 21 years old and an acting captain in the 2nd Batallion of the Northamptonshire Regiment when he performed the deed which earned him the Victoria Cross.

Colyer-Fergusson, who was born on February 18, 1896, won his honour for incredible bravery at Bellewarde in Belgium on that day – the same day he was shot dead by a sniper.

According to the London Gazette, his Victoria Cross
citation reads: “For most conspicuous bravery, skilful leading and determination in attack.

“The tactical situation having developed contrary to expectation, it was not possible for his company to adhere to the original plan of deployments, and owing to the difficulties of the ground and to enemy fire, Captain Colyer-Fergusson found himself with a sergeant and five men only.

“He carried out the attack nevertheless, and succeeded in capturing the enemy trench and disposing of the garrison.

“His party was then threatened by a heavy counter-attack from the left front, but this attack he successfully resisted.

“During this operation, assisted by his orderly only, he attacked and captured an enemy machine gun and turned it on the assailants, many of whom were killed and a large number driven into the hands of an adjoining British unit.

“Later, assisted only by his sergeant, he again attacked and captured a second enemy machine gun, by which time he had been joined by other portions of his company, and was enabled to consolidate his position.

“The conduct of this officer throughout forms an amazing record of dash, gallantry and skill, for which no reward can be too great, having regard to the importance of the position won.

“This gallant officer was shortly afterwards killed by a sniper.”

He is buried in Menin Road South Military Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.

There is a memorial in his memory in St Peter’s Church, Ightham, Kent.