Personal info

  • Name: Thomas RICKETTS
  • D.O.B: 15th Apr, 1901
  • D.O.A: 14th Oct, 1918
  • D.O.D: 10th Feb, 1967
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 1st Battalion The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 28th Brigade, 9th Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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The Battle of Courtrai, Belgium 14, 20 October 1918

14 and 20 October 1918

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The First World War 1918 

The final Battle of Ypres opened on 28 September 1918 but had been halted on 2 October 1918. Second Army now held a line from north of Ledegem, running south through Comines to Armentières. The Allied offensive resumed on 14 October 1918, the first day of the Battle of Courtrai. In the north 9th and 29th Divisions swept forward taking Ledegem, passing north of Moorsele and almost reaching Gullegem, north-west of Courtrai. Part of Courtrai was captured on the 16th and by the morning of the 20th, Second Army was across the Lys Canal, which ran north-east from Courtrai. That day the British began to push forward towards the Scheldt. 29th Division now advanced south-east from Gullegem, parallel with the Courtrai-Bossuit Canal, as far as St-Louis (St-Lodewijk).


 For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on the 14th October, 1918, during the advance from Ledeghem, when the attack was temporarily held up by heavy hostile fire and the platoon to which he belonged suffered severe casualties from the fire of a battery at pointblank range. Pte. Ricketts at once volunteered to go forward with his section commander and a Lewis gun to attempt to outflank the battery. Advancing by short rushes under heavy fire from enemy machine guns with the hostile battery, their ammunition was exhausted when still 300 yards from the battery. The enemy, seeing an opportunity to get their field guns away, began to bring up their gun teams. Pte. Ricketts, at once realising the situation, doubled back 100 yards under the heaviest machine-gun fire, procured further ammunition, and dashed back again to the Lewis gun, and by very accurate fire drove the enemy and the gun teams into a farm. His platoon then advanced without casualties, and captured the four field guns, four machine guns, and eight prisoners. A fifth field gun was subsequently intercepted by fire and captured. By his presence of mind in anticipating the enemy intention and his utter disregard of personal safety, Pte. Ricketts secured the further supply of ammunition which directly resulted in these important captures and undoubtedly saved many lives. 

Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette of 3 January 1919. 6 January 1919, Numb. 31108, p. 309

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