Personal info

  • Name: William Anderson BLOOMFIELD
  • D.O.B: 30th January, 1873
  • D.O.A: 24th August, 1916
  • D.O.D: 12th May, 1954
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Captain, Scout Corps, 2nd South African Mounted Brigade
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Mlali, German East Africa 24 August 1916

24 August 1916

More details about:
The First World War. 1916 

In August 1916 General J C Smuts attempted to trap the forces of Colonel Paul von Lettow- Vorbeck, the German commander in East Africa, at Morogoro on the railway line west from Dar-es-Salaam, north of the Uluguru Mountains. Unaware that there was in fact a track south from Morogoro through the mountains to Kissaki, Smuts sought to block von Lettow- Vorbeck’s retreat by cutting the roads that ran south to the east and west of the range. The 2nd South African Mounted Brigade under Brigadier General B G L Enslin was detailed to cut the western road at Mlali. On 24 August Mlali was taken but German reinforcements arrived and while advancing to deal with German fire part of the force got into difficulties and was recalled. The British captured considerable quantities of German stores but could not prevent the escape of von Lettow-Vorbeck and his forces south into the mountains the following day.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery. Finding that, after being heavily attacked in an advanced and isolated position, the enemy were working round his flanks, Captain Bloomfield evacuated his wounded, and subsequently withdrew his command to a new position, he himself being amongst the last to retire. On arrival at the new position he found that one of the wounded - No. 2475 Corporal D. M. P. Bowker - had been left behind. Owing to very heavy fire he experienced difficulties in having the wounded Corporal brought in. Rescue meant passing over some 400 yards of open ground, swept by heavy fire, in full view of the enemy. This task Captain Bloomfield determined to face himself, and unmindful of personal danger, he succeeded in reaching Corporal Bowker and carrying him back, subjected throughout the double journey to heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. This act showed the highest degree of valour and endurance. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 29 December 1916. 30 December 1916, Numb. 29885, pp. 12735-36

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