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Remembered Today: Captain GN WALFORD VC RFA died 26/04/1915 V Beach Cemetery Gallipoli


ianjonesncl

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Remembered Today: Captain Garth Neville WALFORD Victoria Cross Royal Field Artillery who died 26/04/1915 V BEACH CEMETERY Turkey (including Gallipoli)

Captain Garth Neville Walford was the only Gunner to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Gallipoli Campaign, his actions being part of a double award along with Lieutenant-Colonel Doughty-Wylie.  [1]

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Captain Garth Walford VC

Garth Neville Walford was born on the 27th of May 1882 at Camberley, Surrey, in a house within the grounds of The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The only son of Colonel Neville Walford, Royal Artillery, posted to the Staff College and his wife Selina Elliott nee Young. Garth Walford attended Harrow School going on to Balliol College, Oxford from 1900 to 1902 where he studied classics. [2]

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G.N. Walford Balliol College Oxford

He was commissioned as a University Candidate on 24th December 1902 [3], promoting to Lieutenant two years later. [4]

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Lieutenant Walford

In October 1907 Garth Neville Walford married Elizebeth Katherine May Trefusis, second daughter of Colonel The Honourable John Schomberg Trefusis C.M.G, J.P. (Late Devonshire Militia). The couple would have two daughters, Naomi born October 1908, and Phyllida born February 1915. [5]

Lieutenant served in Egypt and India before being posted to Staff College in Camberley in 1913. [6] On the out break of the First World War Lieutenant Walford was restored to the establishment. [7]

Walford joined 27th Brigade RFA., part of the 5th Divisional Artillery, II Corps. He would be involved in the Retreat from Mons, when he was slightly wounded, and at the Battle of the Aisne .  After a period of sickness during which he returned to England, he returned to the British Expeditionary Force on promotion. [8]  He was promoted Captain 30th October 1914 [9] and in 1915  was appointed to the Staff as a Brigade Major. [10] He joined the 29th Division sailing to Egypt via Malta in March 1915 (just after the birth of his second daughter) destined for the forthcoming Gallipoli Campaign. [11]

On 25th April 1915, ANZAC forces landed on the on the west coast of the Gallipoli Peninsular. On the southern tip, the 29th Division landed on five beaches. The landings on S W and X beaches were secured. On W Beach the Lancashire Fusiliers fought their way off the beach 'winning 6 VC's before breakfast'.

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Source: The Gallipoli campaign: Part IV: The first landings at Cape Helles and Y Beach on 25th April 1915 (britishbattles.com)

On V beach the initial landings resulted in heavy casualties. The follow on forces were landed from the SS River Clyde. On board were the 29th Divisional Staff including Captain Garth Walford. [12] The ship was beached near the Sedd el Bahr Castle and transport boats were positioned to form a bridge for the troops to disembark. 

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Sedd el Bahr Castle from the River Clyde

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SS River Clyde Y Beach Landings

Those landings from the River Clyde were unsuccessful with more than 70% casualties, which necessitated the General Officer Commanding of the 29th Division issuing orders for the main force to land at W Beach, leaving the men on the River Clyde stranded. Six Victoria Crosses were won by Royal Navy personnel holding the transport boats and rescuing the wounded.

The men eventually made their way ashore during darkness. Lieutenant-Colonel Doughty-Wylie, and Captain  Walford, both from the Divisional Staff, then rallied the survivors of the Munster Fusiliers, Royal Fusiliers and Hampshire Regiment.

On the morning of the 26th April the two officers led an attack on the Sedd el Bahr, successfully securing the Castle. Lieutenant-Colonel Doughty-Wylie, and Captain  Walford, were both killed during that attack, and for their actions each were awarded the Victoria Cross.

General Hunter-Weston, GOC 29th Division, wrote the following on the 27th of April 1915; [13]

"Alas, that I should have to write it, Captain Walford has been killed. He died gallantly, very, very gallantly, leading with Colonel Doughty Wyllie the attack on V Beach. We landed some men on that beach on the 25th. . but further progress was impossible on that day. On the 26th Doughty Wyllie, with Walford assisting him, organized an advance, and, working through the village of Sedd-el-Bahr, . they finally managed to drive off the Turks and clear the beach of the enemny fire that had rendered further landing impossible".

"In this glorious deed both Doughty Wyllie, Walford and many others lost their lives, but their gallantry saved the situation and has written their names on the pages of history. They achieved the impossible. They showed themselves Englishmen of the grand old mould. I esteem it an honour and a privilege to have known such gallant men. " I am trying to get them both a suitable posthumous reward, and hope I may succeed. No honour could be too high for them."

The Victoria Crosses awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Doughty-Wylie and Captain Walford were Gazetted on 23rd June 1915. The citation records their valour; [14]

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Captain Garth Neville Walford VC is buried in the V Beach Cemetery [15].

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Source: V Beach Cemetery, Gallipoli - WW1 Cemeteries.com

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Source: V Beach Cemetery, Gallipoli - WW1 Cemeteries.com

A memorial plaque  remembering him is situated in Exeter Cathedral. [16]

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In 2015, on the centenary of his death, a Victoria Cross memorial stone was dedicated at the war memorial in London Road, Camberley.[17]

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[1] https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29202/supplement/6115

[2] https://sites.google.com/site/frimleyandcamberley/lest-we-forget-my-family-s-military-memorial/garth-neville-walford-v-c-1882---1915

[3] https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27508/page/8842

[4] https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27871/page/110

[5] https://sites.google.com/site/frimleyandcamberley/lest-we-forget-my-family-s-military-memorial/garth-neville-walford-v-c-1882---1915

[6] https://sites.google.com/site/frimleyandcamberley/lest-we-forget-my-family-s-military-memorial/garth-neville-walford-v-c-1882---1915

[7] https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28884/supplement/6880

[8] https://sites.google.com/site/frimleyandcamberley/lest-we-forget-my-family-s-military-memorial/garth-neville-walford-v-c-1882---1915

[9] Page 8861 | Supplement 28960, 30 October 1914 | London Gazette | The Gazette

[10] Page 1557 | Issue 29070, 16 February 1915 | London Gazette | The Gazette

[11] https://sites.google.com/site/frimleyandcamberley/lest-we-forget-my-family-s-military-memorial/garth-neville-walford-v-c-1882---1915

[12] https://vcgca.org/our-people/profile/337/Garth-Neville--WALFORD

[13] https://sites.google.com/site/frimleyandcamberley/lest-we-forget-my-family-s-military-memorial/garth-neville-walford-v-c-1882---1915

[14] https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29202/supplement/6115

[15] https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/605267/garth-neville-walford/

[16] https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/4579380

[17] https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/remembrance-memorial-stone-unveiled-victoria-10424377

Edited by ianjonesncl

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