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Company Sergeant Major John Henry Williams VC

The most decorated Welsh non-commissioned officer of all time, Company Sergeant Major John (Jack) Henry Williams was born in Nantyglo Monmouthshire in 1886 and, givng up his employment as a colliery blacksmith, enlisted in the 10th South Wales Borderers in November 1914. During his first world war service, this remarkable soldier was decorated for bravery on several occasions culminating in his receipt of the Victoria Cross, the UK's highest award for gallantry.

Distinguished Conduct Medal
Mametz Wood 10th/12th July 1916
For continued and sustained coolness and gallantry during the battle

Military Medal
Pilkem Ridge 31st July 1917
For bravery at the beginning of the battle for Passchendaele heights.

J H Williams VC

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty on the night of 7th - 8th October 1918, during the attack on Villers Outreaux, when, observing that his company was suffering heavy casualties from an enemy machine gun, he ordered a Lewis Gun to engage it, and went forward, under heavy fire, to the flank of the enemy post which he rushed single handed, capturing fifteen of the enemy.

These prisoners, realising that Williams was alone, turned on him and one of them gripped his rifle. He succeeded in breaking away and bayonetting five enemy, whereupon the remainder again surrendered. By this gallant action and total disregard of personal danger, he was the means of enabling not only his own company but also those on the flanks to advance.'

He was promoted to Sergeant in January 1915.

The above Citation for the VC was published in the London Gazette on 14th December 1918:

CSM Williams was medically discharged from the army on 17th October 1918 after being severely wounded by shrapnel in the right arm and leg.

Jack Williams VC
Bar to Military Medal
Armentieres 30th October 1917
For bravery during a raid near Armentières, where he brought back a wounded comrade.
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Medaille Militaire (France)
Coronation Medal

John Henry Williams VC

Wounded in Action

The Photograph left was taken in 1919, soon after the investiture in which C.S.M Williams received the VC, DCM, MM and Bar from King George V.

This was the first time that the King had decorated the same man four times in one day.

At the time of the investiture CSM Williams had not recovered from his severe wounds and during the presentation, the wound in his arm opened up with the result that medical attention had to be given before he could leave the palace.

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