Personal info

  • Name: Cecil Harold SEWELL
  • D.O.B: 25th January, 1895
  • D.O.A: 29th August, 1918
  • D.O.D: 29th August, 1918
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant, The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), attached 3rd (Light) Battalion, Royal Tank Corps
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
View On Interactive Map

Near Frémicourt, France 29 August 1918

29 August 1918

More details about:
The First World War 1918 

As New Zealand troops sought to advance east of Bapaume on 29 August 1918, four whippet tanks of 3rd (Light) Battalion, Royal Tank Corps, under Lieutenant C H Sewell, were ordered to clear enemy machine-gun positions near Frémicourt, just east of Bapaume on the Cambrai road. One of the tanks, commanded by Lieutenant O L Rees-Williams, overturned in a shellhole. Sewell freed the trapped crew but was hit returning to his own tank. Though wounded he attempted to tend to his driver, Gunner W Knox. Both men were killed.

Citation

 When in command of a section of Whippet Light Tanks in action this officer displayed most conspicuous bravery and initiative in getting out of his own Tank and crossing open ground under heavy shell and machine-gun fire to rescue the crew of another Whippet of his section which had side-slipped into a large shell-hole, overturned and taken fire. The door of the Tank having become jammed against the side of the shell-hole, Lt. Sewell, by his own unaided efforts, dug away at the entrance to the door and released the crew. In so doing he undoubtedly saved the lives of the officer and men inside the Tank, as they could not have got out without his assistance. After having extricated the crew, seeing one of his own crew lying wounded behind his Tank, he again dashed across the open ground to his assistance. He was hit in doing so, but succeeded in reaching the Tank when a few minutes later he was again hit, fatally, in the act of dressing his wounded driver. During the whole of this period he was within full view and short range of the enemy machine guns and rifle-pits, and throughout, by his prompt and heroic action, showed an utter disregard for his own personal safety. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 29 October 1918. 30 October 1918, Numb. 30982, pp. 12801-02

Copyright © 2020 VC and GC Association. All Rights Reserved. Created by Glide.Design