Personal info

  • Name: John Stanhope COLLINGS-WELLS
  • D.O.B: 19th July, 1880
  • D.O.A: 27th March, 1918
  • D.O.D: 27th March, 1918
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Acting Lieutenant Colonel, commanding 4th Battalion The Bedfordshire Regiment, 190th Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Marcoing and Bouzincourt Ridge, France 22-27 March 1918

22-27 March 1918

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The First World War 1918 

As the German advance westwards continued in the days following the opening of their Spring offensive on 21 March 1918, 4th Battalion The Bedfordshire Regiment, which had been in the line west of Marcoing, executed a fighting withdrawal taking it south of Bapaume until by 27 March 1918 it was defending Bouzincourt Ridge, two miles north-west of Albert.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery, skilful leading and handling of his battalion in very critical situations during a withdrawal. When the rearguard was almost surrounded and in great danger of being captured, Lieutenant-Colonel Collings-Wells, realising the situation, called for volunteers to remain behind and hold up the enemy whilst the remainder of the rearguard withdrew, and with his small body of volunteers held them up for one and a-half hours until they had expended every round of ammunition. During this time he moved freely amongst his men guiding and encouraging them, and by his great courage undoubtedly saved the situation. On a subsequent occasion, when his battalion was ordered to carry out a counter-attack, he showed the greatest bravery. Knowing that his men were extremely tired after six days’ fighting, he placed himself in front and led the attack, and even when twice wounded refused to leave them but continued to lead and encourage his men until he was killed at the moment of gaining their objective. The successful results of the operation were, without doubt, due to the undaunted courage exhibited by this officer. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 23 April 1918. 24 April 1918, Numb. 30648, p. 4967

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