Personal info

  • Name: Thomas WOODCOCK
  • D.O.B: 19th Mar, 1888
  • D.O.A: 16th Aug, 1917
  • D.O.D: 27th Mar, 1918
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, Guards Division
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Ney Copse, east of the Broenbeek, Belgium 13-16 September 1917

13-16 September 1917

More details about:
The First World War 1917 

On 12 September 1917, six platoons from 2nd Battalion The Irish Guards took up position in a bridgehead in the Ypres Salient at Ney Copse and Ney Wood, east of the Broenbeek river where it flowed between Wijdendrift, north of Langemark, and the southern edge of Houthulst Forest. An advanced post was occupied by a platoon led by Lance Sergeant J Moyney. On the 13th the Germans attacked and the Irish Guards decided to withdraw back across the Broenbeek. In the confusion, Moyney and his men were left behind, with a German machine-gun post now between them and the new British front line. By the morning of the 16th, the Germans were closing in on them and Moyney and his men charged through the encircling Germans, eventually reaching safety. As they were withdrawing across the Broenbeek, Private T Woodcock rescued the injured Private Hilley from the river. There was renewed fighting at this location during the British attack on 9 October 1917.


 For most conspicuous bravery and determination. He was one of a post commanded by L./Sjt. Moyney which was surrounded. The post held out for 96 hours, but after that time was attacked from all sides in overwhelming numbers and was forced to retire. Pte. Woodcock covered the retirement with a Lewis gun, and only retired when the enemy had moved round and up to his post and were only a few yards away. He then crossed the river, but hearing cries for help behind him, returned and waded into the stream amid a shower of bombs from the enemy and rescued another member of the party. The latter he then carried across the open ground in broad daylight towards our front line regardless of machine gun fire that was opened on him. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 16 October 1917. 17 October 1917, Numb. 30338, pp. 10678-09

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