30 August 2008

Charles Garforth died on the 1st July 1973 at Beeston, Nottingham, and was cremated at the Wilford Hill Cemetery Crematorium, ( also known as the Southern Cemetery ) his ashes being scattered in the Garden of Remembrance.

Local historian Tony Higton organised a project to raise funds to erect a headstone to Charles Garforth VC in Nottingham's Southern Cemetery.

On Saturday, 30th August 2008 a ceremony was held in the cemetery to commemorate the life of Charles Garforth VC, a First World War Victoria Cross recipient, the Reverend Douglas Dennis CBE, officiating. An Honour Guard was formed by the Regiment of Light Dragoons, and in attendance was the Sheriff of Nottingham; the Mayor of Rushcliffe; and Councillor Christine Jeffrey's, former Mayor of Rushcliffe. The Royal British Legion provided 12 standard bearers.

Charles Garforth was recommended on three seperate occasions for the award of the Victoria Cross for the following acts of gallantry

On 23 August 1914 his troop was fighting a rear-guard action near Harmignies; the troop was nearly surrounded, and was held up by a wire fence. Corporal Garforth cut this wire fence, in spite of the fact that the Germans had turned their machine-gun fire on to the fence, with the express purpose of preventing it being cut. This action allowed the troop to make a gallop to safety.

Again on 6 September 1914, near Danmartin Corporal Garforth was out on patrol. The patrol came under heavy fire and was forced to retire. Sergeant Scatterfield's horse was shot, and the sergeant was lying under his horse. Garforth went forward under heavy fire and pulled the Sergeant from under his horse, and took him to a place of safety.

On the following day, 7 September 1914, when on patrol, Sergeant Lewis had his horse shot and was on foot under machine-gun fire. Garforth drew the fire of the machine-guns on to himself and engaged the machine-guns with his rifle fire, thus enabling the Sergeant to get away under cover.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 16 November 1914 ], Harmingnies, France, 23 August 1914, Corporal Charles Ernest Garforth, 15th ( The King's ) Hussars.

At Harmignies on 23rd August volunteered to cut wire which enabled his squadron to escape. At Danmartin he carried a man out of action. On 3rd September, when under maxim fire, he extricated a sergeant whose horse had been shot, and by opening fire for 3 minutes enabled the sergeant to get away safely.

Charles Garforth was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 19th December 1918.

When the British armies were moving on to the line La Bassee - Ypres, Corporal Garforth was on patrol with Captain Bradshaw near Laventie; the patrol found themselves surrounded and the officer and seven men were killed. Garforth held out until all his ammunition was expended; and at that time Divisional Cavalry had not been given bayonets and Corporal Garforth was thus unarmed and was taken prisoner on 13 October 1914.

He was first sent to Hamelin-on-Weser, and transferred from there to Bohmte, from which place he made three attempts to escape and on each occasion reached the German - Dutch frontier but was always recaptured. He was finally sent to The Netherlands on 19 March 1918 and repatriated to England on 18 November 1918, rejoining his regiment, 15th Hussars, in Kerpen, near Cologne, on 4 August 1919.

Medal entitlement of Sergeant Charles Garforth - 15th ( The King's ) Hussars

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1914 Star + clasp "5th Aug-22nd Nov 1914"
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )


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Iain Stewart, 1 September 2008