- Name: George PROWSE
- D.O.B: 29th Jul, 1886
- D.O.A: 4th Sep, 1918
- D.O.D: 27th Sep, 1918
- Award: Victoria Cross
- Occupation at time of action: Chief Petty Officer, Drake Battalion, 189th Brigade, 63rd Royal Naval Division, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
- Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
The Drocourt-Quéant Line, France 2-4 September 1918
2-4 September 1918
The First World War 1918
On 2 September 1918 the Allies attacked and broke through the Drocourt-Quéant Line, the German defensive position east of Arras stretching from Drocourt, just south-east of Lens, in the north, to Quéant, north-east of Bapaume and west of Cambrai, in the south. 11th Division of XXII Corps was south of the River Scarpe and moved south-eastwards from near Hamblain-les-Prés. It was in a reconnaissance across the River Cojeul, southwest of Étaing, during which a German machine-gun post was also knocked-out, that Lance Sergeant A W Evans, 6th Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment, distinguished himself. On 11th Division’s flank to the south, 4th Canadian Division advanced north of the Arras to Cambrai road and 75th Battalion 1st Central Ontario Regiment and 87th Battalion Quebec Regiment took part in the attack on German positions near Dury. Captain B S Hutcheson, Canadian Army Medical Corps, attached to 75th Battalion, and Private J F Young, 87th Battalion, a stretcher-bearer, showed conspicuous bravery under fire in this sector. 1st Canadian Division advanced south of the Arras to Cambrai road. 10th Battalion Alberta Regiment captured Villers-lès-Cagnicourt, just south of the road. Sergeant A G Knight exhibited great gallantry during this action. 16th Battalion The Manitoba Regiment met heavy machine-gun fire near Cagnicourt, just to the south, and Lieutenant Colonel C W Peck distinguished himself by his steadfastness in overcoming this resistance. Lance Corporal W H Metcalf, of the same battalion, led a tank to attack the enemy during this action. Private W L Rayfield, 7th Battalion The British Columbia Regiment, also showed conspicuous bravery in the fighting near Cagnicourt. To the south of the Canadians, XVII Corps manned the line. 1st Battalion The Royal Munster Fusiliers took part in the advance east of Riencourt-lès-Cagnicourt. It was in the fighting here that Company Sergeant Major M Doyle distinguished himself by his gallantry. South-east of Riencourt and Quéant, 63rd Royal Naval Division pushed forwards and Commander D M W Beak (see 21-25 August 1918 above) and Chief Petty Officer G Prowse were awarded the VC for their part in the fighting at Pronville.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when, during an advance, a portion of his company became disorganised by heavy machine-gun fire from an enemy strong point. Collecting what men were available he led them with great coolness and bravery against this strong point, capturing it together with twenty-three prisoners and five machine-guns. Later, he took a patrol forward in the face of much enemy opposition, and established it on important high ground. On another occasion he displayed great heroism by attacking singlehanded an ammunition limber which was trying to recover ammunition, killing three men who accompanied it and capturing the limber. Two days later he rendered valuable services when covering the advance of his company with a Lewis-gun section, and located later on two machine-gun positions in a concrete emplacement, which were holding up the advance of the battalion on the right. With complete disregard of personal danger he rushed forward with a small party and attacked and captured these posts, killing six enemy and taking thirteen prisoners and two machine guns. He was the only survivor of this gallant party, but by this daring and heroic action he enabled the battalion on the right to push forward without further machine-gun fire from the village. Throughout the whole operations his magnificent example and leadership were an inspiration to all, and his courage was superb.