BRIGADIER M A JAMES VC DSO MC DL
Events leading to Captain Manley James winning his VC with 8th Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment, in March 1918. Will be known to some. Soon, and in common with all VC holders from the First World War, a paving stone commemorating his actions will be unveiled at his birthplace.
For much of his life and throughout his education, the family home was in Bristol. Later Manley enlisted at Horfield Barracks, the Gloucesters HQ and Depot in Gloucester Road, Bristol. Thereafter, in December 1914, James was commissioned in to 8th Battalion of the Gloucesters. An extraordinary career, spanning two World Wars and more, ensued. After leaving HM Forces in the early 1950s he was employed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, Filton. He became very influential in building and sustaining the Bristol Branch of the Regimental Association. The actions within his citation took place within the context of the German offensive on the Western Front, Spring 1918:
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in attack.
Capt. James led his company forward with magnificent determination and courage, inflicting severe losses on the enemy and capturing twenty-seven prisoners and two machine guns. He was wounded, but refused to leave his company, and repulsed three hostile onslaughts the next day.Two days later, although the enemy had broken through on his right flank, he refused to withdraw and made a most determined stand, inflicting very heavy losses on the enemy and gaining valuable time for the withdrawal of guns. He was ordered by the senior officer on the spot to hold on “to the last” in order to enable the brigade to be extricated. He then led his company forward in a local counter-attack on his own initiative, and was again wounded. He was last seen working a machine gun single-handed, after having been wounded a third time. No praise can be too high for the gallant stand made by this company, and Capt. James, by his dauntless courage and magnificent example, undoubtedly enabled the battalion to be withdrawn before being completely cut off (London Gazette Citation extracted from Lord Ashcroft Medal Collection website).
On Friday 22nd June 2018, the VC paving stone commemorating the actions of Captain Manley James will be unveiled, by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, at the War Memorial, High Street, Odiham, Hampshire. The ceremony begins at 2.30 pm. Association members and Standard bearers are encouraged to attend and to arrive by no later than2.15 pm.
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