Personal info

  • Name: John MOLYNEUX
  • D.O.B: 22nd November, 1890
  • D.O.A: 9th October, 1917
  • D.O.D: 26th March, 1972
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Sergeant, 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), 29th Division
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Poelcapelle, Belgium 9 October 1917

9 October 1917

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The First World War 1917 

On 9 October 1917, in the Battle of Poelcapelle, one of a series of advances intended to drive the Germans off the Passchendaele Ridge, the British sought to exploit the advantage they had gained in the Battle of Broodseinde five days earlier (see above) but only made small gains. The Guards Division attacked the German line near Houthulst Forest, northeast of Langemark, where there had already been fighting a month earlier. Lance Sergeant J H Rhodes distinguished himself in the action by capturing an enemy pillbox. To the south of the Guards Division, 4th Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment advanced north of the Ypres-Staden railway line. Its first objective was Namur Crossing, where the remains of a road ran beneath the railway. In this fighting Private F G Dancox took a German pillbox single- handed. Meanwhile 1st Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers attacked south of the railway line. In this action, Sergeant J Lister, 1st Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers, captured a German stronghold at Olga House, while Sergeant J Molyneux, 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers, dealt with a series of obstacles around Condé House. South of the Ypres-Staden railway line, 6th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment advanced through Poelcapelle itself but met strong opposition from a German position near a former brewery. Corporal W Clamp succeeded in capturing one of the enemy pillboxes but was subsequently killed while trying to flush out snipers. However, by the end of the day the Germans had been able to reoccupy many of their former positions.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. During an attack, which was held up by machine-gun fire which caused many casualties, Sjt. Molyneux instantly organised a bombing party to clear the trench in front of a house. Many enemy were killed and a machine-gun captured. Having cleared this obstacle, he immediately jumped out of the trench and called for someone to follow him, and rushed for the house. By the time the men arrived he was in the thick of a hand-to-hand fight; this only lasted a short time, and the enemy surrendered, and, in addition to the dead and wounded, between 20 and 30 prisoners were taken. Apart from the personal bravery of this non-commissioned officer, his initiative and dash prevented a slight check from becoming a serious block in the advance, and undoubtedly prevented many casualties. 

Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette of 23 November 1917. 26 November 1917, Numb. 30400, p. 12328

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