THE VICTORIA CROSS AND CAMPAIGN MEDALS AWARDED TO PRIVATE WILLIAM RATCLIFFE, SOUTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT, HAVE BEEN LOANED TO THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM.
1 November 2007

The Imperial War Museum has acquired on loan the Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Private William Ratcliffe, 2nd Bn, South Lancashire Regiment.


Medal entitlement of Private William Ratcliffe - 2nd Bn, South Lancashire Regiment

  • Victoria Cross
  • Military Medal ( MM )
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )


For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 2 August 1917 ], Messines, Belgium, 14 June 1917, Private William Ratcliffe, 2nd Bn, South Lancashire Regiment

For most conspicuous bravery ( Messines, France ). After an enemy’s trench had been captured, Private Ratcliffe located an enemy machine gun which was firing on his comrades from the rear, whereupon, single-handed and on his own initiative, he immediately rushed the machine gun position and bayonetted the crew. He then brought the gun back into action in the front line.

This very gallant soldier has displayed great resource on previous occasions, and has set an exceptionally fine example of devotion to duty.

William Ratcliffe was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 26th September 1917


William Ratcliffe was born in Liverpool and after leaving school worked for various haulage firms and for a short time in the local docks. After being discharged in 1919, by this time he was known as the Dockers VC, he once more returned to the docks to work. Ratcliffe, who remained a bachelor, died in his early eighties on the 26th March 1963, and was buried in Allerton Cemetery, Liverpool, in the grave of Sarah and John Hume, his sister and brother-in-law, with whom had had lived for several years.

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Iain Stewart, 1 November 2007