Personal info

  • Name: Geoffrey RACKHAM
  • D.O.B: 7th Aug, 1896
  • D.O.A: 27th Oct, 1918
  • D.O.D: 10th Jan, 1982
  • Award: Albert Medal translated to George Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Second Lieutenant, Army Service Corps, attached 545 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Le Cateau, France 27 October 1918

27 October 1918

More details about:
The First World War 1918 

The British had attacked on the Cambrai front on 27 September 1918 and on 6 October the Allies launched the Second Battle of Le Cateau. The town was taken on the 10th. On the 17th the Allies began to advance on the Selle river to the south and north of Le Cateau. On the 27th one of a convoy of lorries carrying ammunition to the front caught fire in the town.


 The KING has been pleased to award the Albert Medal to Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Rackham, Royal Army Service Corps, M.T., attached 545th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, in recognition of his gallantry in saving life in France in October last. At Le Cateau on the 27th October, 1918, a lorry (one of a convoy of seven) laden with shells and cartridges caught fire. Lieutenant Rackham, who was awakened by the fire alarm, hurried to the scene of the fire in his pyjamas to find that flames three to four feet high were issuing from the petrol tank. He put the cap on the petrol tank, jumped into the driver’s seat, started up the blazing lorry and drove it, while cartridges were exploding, to a place of safety, afterwards helping to extinguish the flames. By his prompt and courageous conduct, serious damage, and in all probability loss of life, was averted; for the other loaded lorries were close by, and some 130 men of the battery were only thirty yards distant. 

(The London Gazette of 3 January 1919, Numb. 31104, p. 198)

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