Personal info

  • Name: Jack WHITE
  • D.O.B: 23rd Dec, 1896
  • D.O.A: 8th Mar, 1917
  • D.O.D: 27th Nov, 1949
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 6th Battalion The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), 13th Division
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Diyala river, south-east of Baghdad, Mesopotamia 7 and 8 March 1917

7 and 8 March 1917

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The First World War Mesopotamia 1915-1918 

By early March 1917 the British Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force had advanced as far as the Diyala river, which flowed south into the Tigris about ten miles south-east of Baghdad. The British underestimated the strength of the Turkish force defending the city and an initial attempt to cross the Diyala by pontoons during the night of 7 and 8 March 1917 was a costly failure. The first two boatloads were all killed by machine-gun fire. In the next pontoon Captain S Patterson with sixty men, made a further attempt to cross the Diyala. Patterson was shot in the head and all his men were killed or wounded except Private J White. Having escaped unscathed, White jumped overboard and towed the pontoon to the shore with a telephone wire.


 For most conspicuous bravery and resource. This signaller during an attempt to cross a river saw the two Pontoons ahead of him come under heavy machine-gun fire, with disastrous results. When his own Pontoon had reached mid-stream, with every man except himself either dead or wounded, finding that he was unable to control the Pontoon, Pte. White promptly tied a telephone wire to the Pontoon, jumped overboard, and towed it to the shore, thereby saving an officer’s life and bringing to land the rifles and equipment of the other men in the boat, who were either dead or dying. 

Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette of 26 June 1917. 27 June 1917, Numb. 30154, p. 6382

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