1 November 2007

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Captain Joseph Woodall VC,
1st Bn, The Rifle Brigade

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

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Captain Joseph Edward Woodall, 1st Bn, The Rifle Brigade, have been loaned to the Imperial War Museum. ( The VC group was previously on loan to the Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester ).

On the 11th April 1918 the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade was rushed up in buses to a position on the La Bassée Canal in order to try and stem the German breakthrough on the Lys. Over the next eleven days it was involved in severe fighting in the area around Hinges and Robecq. On the 22nd April, 1st Bn, Rifle Brigade, together with the 1st Hampshires, took part in an attack which helped to secure the Canal. It was during this fighting that Lance Sergeant Joseph Woodall won his Victoria Cross on the far side of the canal at La Pannerie, near Hinges.

[ London Gazette, 28 June 1918 ], La Pannerie, France, 22 April 1918, Lance Sergeant Joseph Edward Woodall, 1st Bn, The Rifle Brigade.

For most conspicuous bravery and fine leadership during an attack. ( La Pannerie, France ) Sjt. Woodall was in command of a platoon which, during an advance, was held up by a machine gun.

On his own initiative he rushed forward and, single-handed, captured the gun and eight men. After the objective had been gained, heavy fire was encountered from a farmhouse some 200 yards in front. Sjt. Woodall collected ten men and, with great dash and gallantry, rushed the farm and took thirty prisoners. Shortly afterwards, when the officer in command was killed, he took entire command, reorganised the two platoons, and disposed them most skilfully.

Throughout the day, in spite of intense shelling and machine-gun fire, this gallant N.C.O. was constantly on the move, encouraging the men and finding out and sending back invaluable information. The example set by Sjt. Woodall was simply magnificent, and had a marked effect on the troops. The success of the operation on this portion of the front is attributed almost entirely to his coolness, courage and utter disregard for his own personal safety.

Joseph Woodall was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 23rd November 1918.

Joseph Woodall stayed in the Army after the war and on the 7th March 1919 became a Second Lieutenant with one of the Service Battalions of The Rifle Brigade. He retired from the Army as a Captain in September 1921.

Woodall did not attend the 1956 VC Centenary Review, although he did attend a Festival of Remembrance in Dublin in November 1956, along with three other VC holders - Adrian Carton de Wiart, John Moyney and James Duffy.

Joseph Woodall died at St. Michael's Hospital, Dun Laoghaire on the 2nd January 1962 and was buried in Dean's Grange Cemetery.


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Iain Stewart, 1 November 2007