Personal info

  • Name: Joseph Henry COLLIN
  • D.O.B: 11th April, 1893
  • D.O.A: 9th April, 1918
  • D.O.D: 9th April, 1918
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Second Lieutenant, 1/4th Battalion The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), 164th Brigade, 55th Division
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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East of Béthune, France

9 April 1918

More details about:
The First World War 1918 

On 9 April 1918 a German attack broke through on the Laventie front and established a salient between Givenchy, east of Béthune, and Bois Grenier, south of Armentières, running through Estaires. 55th Division was in the line north of the Canal d’Aire defending Givenchy and Festubert. It was considered particularly important that Givenchy stay in British hands. Second Lieutenant J H Collin, 1/4th Battalion The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, and Temporary Second Lieutenant J Schofield, 2/5th Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers, were both awarded posthumous VCs for this action. Schofield was assisted by Private C McGill, who was awarded the DCM. The road from Gorre, just outside Béthune, east towards the new front line at Festubert became almost impassable. It was, however, by this road that Private R G Masters succeeded in evacuating some two hundred wounded men.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice in action. After offering a long and gallant resistance against heavy odds in the Keep held by his platoon, this officer, with only five of his men remaining, slowly withdrew in the face of superior numbers, contesting every inch of the ground. The enemy were pressing him hard with bombs and machine-gun fire from close range. Single-handed 2nd Lt. Collin attacked the machine gun team. After firing his revolver into the enemy, he seized a Mills grenade and threw it into the hostile team, putting the gun out of action, killing four of the team and wounding two others. Observing a second hostile machine gun firing, he took a Lewis gun, and selecting a high point of vantage on the parapet whence he could engage the gun, he, unaided, kept the enemy at bay until he fell mortally wounded. The heroic self-sacrifice of 2nd Lt. Collin was a magnificent example to all. 

Sixth Supplement to The London Gazette of 25 June 1918. 28 June 1918, Numb. 30770, p. 7618

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