23 April 2004

Framlingham College has made the decision to loan their two Victoria Crosses to the Imperial War Museum until further notice. The handover took place on Friday, 23rd April 2004. The VC awarded to Lieutenant Gordon Flowerdew had been on a long loan to the Strathcona's Museum in Calgary but was returned to the college in February 2003. The loan of the Flowerdew and Hewitt VCs to the IWM means they join the VC group of the other Framlingham College VC holder, Captain Augustus Agar, Royal Navy.


Gordon Flowerdew was born on the 2nd January 1885 at Billingford Hall near Scole, Norfolk, and attended Framlingham College from 1894 to 1899. Following his education, at the age of seventeen, he emigrated to Canada and took up work as a cowboy and later as a farmer. When the First World War broke out in 1914 he joined Lord Strathcona's Horse, a cavalry regiment, and was quickly commissioned a Lieutenant.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 24 April 1918 ], Bois de Moreuil, France, 30 March 1918, Lieutenant Gordon Muriel Flowerdew, Lord Strathcona's Horse, Canadian Cavalry.

"For most conspicuous bravery and dash when in command of a squadron detailed for special service of a very important nature. On reaching the first objective, Lieutenant Flowerdew saw two lines of the enemy, each about sixty strong, with machine-guns in the centre and flanks, one line being about two hundred yards behind the other. Realising the critical nature of the operation, and how much depended upon it, Lieutenant Flowerdew ordered a troop under Lieutenant Harvey VC, to dismount and carry out a special movement while he led the remaining three troops to the charge.

The squadron ( less one troop ) passed over the lines, killing many of the enemy with the sword, and wheeling about, galloped at them again. Although the squadron had then lost about seventy percent of its numbers, killed and wounded from rifle and machine-gun fire directed on it from the front and both flanks, the enemy broke and retired. The survivors of the squadron then established themselves in a position where they were joined after much hand-to-hand fighting, by Lieutenant Harvey's party. Lieutenant Flowerdew was dangerously wounded through both thighs during the operation, but continued to cheer on his men.

There can be no doubt that this officer's great valour was the prime factor in the capture of the position."

Gordon Flowerdew was cut down by bullets that hit his chest and legs, and although carried to a field hospital, succumbed to his wounds the following day. He is buried at Namps-au-Val British Cemetery, south-west of Amiens.

Medal entitlement of Lieutenant Gordon Flowerdew - Lord Strathcona's Horse, Canadian Cavalry

  • Victoria Cross
    • The location of Gordon Flowerdew's WWI campaign medals is not known
    • 1914-15 Star
    • British War Medal - ( 1914-20 )
    • Victory Medal - ( 1914-19 )


William Hewitt was born in Copdock, near Ipswich, Suffolk on the 19th June 1884 and was educated at Framlingham College from 1894-1900. He decided to emigrate to South Africa in 1905, joining the South Africa Constabulary for one year and then transferring to the Natal Police in which he served for three years. After the outbreak of the First World War Hewitt, although a good horseman, enlisted into the 2nd South Africa Light Infantry on 24th December 1915. His regiment arrived in France for active service in July 1916.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 26 November 1917 ], Near Ypres, Belgium, 20 September 1917, No. 8162, Lance Corporal William Henry Hewitt, 2nd Bn, South African Light Infantry.

For most conspicuous bravery during operations. Lance Corporal Hewitt attacked a pill-box with his section and tried to rush the doorway. The enemy garrison, however, proved very stubborn, and in the attempt this non-commissioned officer received a severe wound. Nevertheless, he proceeded to the loophole of the pill-box where, in his attempts to put a bomb into it, he was again wounded in the arm. Undeterred, however, he eventually managed to get a bomb inside, which caused the occupants to dislodge, and they were successfully and speedily dealt with by the remainder of section.

William Hewitt was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 16th January 1918.

William Hewitt died on the 7th December 1966 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was cremated on the 10th December and his ashes scattered at sea off Hermanus Cliffs, forty miles East of Cape Town, South Africa.

Medal entitlement of Lance Corporal William Henry Hewitt - 2nd South African Light Infantry

  • Victoria Cross - ( donated to Framlingham College by his widow, Lily Hewitt, on 29th May 1967 )
The Castle Military Museum, Cape Town, hold the following of William Hewitt's medals:
  • Natal Rebellion Medal - ( 1906 )
  • British War Medal - ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal - ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal - ( 1937 )
    • The location of William Hewitt's other medals is not known
    • 1939-45 Star
    • Africa Star
    • War Medal - ( 1939-45 )
    • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal - ( 1953 )


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Iain Stewart, 23 April 2004