Title: VCs of the First World War – Arras and Messines 1917
Author: Gliddon, Gerald
Edition: 4th Edition
Publication Date: 2012
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 270 pages
Comments: Although covering the period January to July 1917, much of this book concentrates on the events of April – the month of the Battle of Arras, including the capture of Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the fighting for possession of the fortified villages of Monchy le Preux and Gavrelle. It extends to include the successes of the Commonwealth Forces at Bullecourt and Messines Ridge in May and June.
The first member of the British Expeditionary Force to win the Victoria Cross on the Western Front in 1917 was Sergeant Edward Mott of the Border Regiment, on 27 January; six months later, on 27 July, the eve of the Passchendaele offensive, Private Thomas Barratt of the South Staffordshire Regiment, who had spent much of his childhood in the workhouse, won Britain and the Commonwealth’s highest award for valour.
By the end of July, on the eve of the Third Battle of Ypres, a total of 50 Victoria Crosses had been awarded, including many to troops from the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand Forces who fought alongside the British Army. The courage, determination and sacrifice of their generation should be never forgotten.