Personal info

  • Name: Richard George MASTERS
  • D.O.B: 23rd March, 1877
  • D.O.A: 9th April, 1918
  • D.O.D: 4th April, 1963
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, Army Service Corps, attached 141st Field Ambulance, 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 and devotion to duty. Owing to an enemy attack, communications were cut off and wounded could not be evacuated. The road was reported impassable, but Pte. Masters volunteered to try to get through, and after the greatest difficulty succeeded, although he had to clear the road of all sorts of debris. He made journey after journey throughout the afternoon, over a road consistently shelled and swept by machine-gun fire, and was on one occasion bombed by an aeroplane. The greater part of the wounded cleared from this area were evacuated by Pte. Masters, as his was the only car that got through during this particular time. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 7 May 1918. 8 May 1918, Numb. 30675, p. 5556

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