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
Mametz Wood 10th/12th July 1916
For continued and sustained coolness and gallantry during the
Pilkem Ridge 31st July 1917
For bravery at the beginning of the battle for Passchendaele
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.'
promoted to Sergeant in January 1915.
Citation for the VC was published in the London Gazette on 14th
was medically discharged from the army on 17th October 1918 after
being severely wounded by shrapnel in the right arm and leg.
to Military Medal
Armentieres 30th October 1917
For bravery during a raid near Armentières, where he brought
back a wounded comrade.
British War Medal
Medaille Militaire (France)