Personal info

  • Name: John READITT
  • D.O.B: 19th January, 1897
  • D.O.A: 25th February, 1917
  • D.O.D: 9th June, 1964
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 6th Battalion The South Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Volunteers), 13th Division

Alqayat-al-Gaharbigah Bend, west of Kut-el-Amara, Mesopotamia 25 February 1917

25 February 1917

More details about:
The First World War Mesopotamia 1915-1918 

Following the fighting at Sanna-i-Yat and Shumran (see above), Turkish forces began to withdraw up the Tigris, with the British advancing in their wake. On 25 February 1917, 6th Battalion The South Lancashire Regiment moved to outflank a Turkish line at the Alqayatal- Gaharbigah Bend in the river, west of Kut-el-Amara. The Turks had established a position in part of a dry canal bed. Second Lieutenant Jackson led a party to dislodge them. After he was killed, Private J Readitt took charge and successfully carried forward the assault against all the odds.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when working down a broad, deep water-course. Five times he went forward in the face of very heavy machine-gun fire at very close range, being the sole survivor on each occasion. These advances drove back the enemy machine guns, and about 300 yards of water-course was made good in an hour. After his officer had been killed Private Readitt, on his own initiative, organised and made several more advances. On reaching the enemy barricade, he was forced by a counter-attack to retire, giving ground slowly and continuing to throw bombs. On supports reaching him, he held a forward bend by bombing until the position was consolidated. The action of this gallant soldier saved the left flank and enabled his Battalion to maintain its position. 

Sixth Supplement to The London Gazette of 3 July 1917. 5 July 1917, Numb. 30167, pp. 6697-98

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