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Battle of Mons 1914

Private Sidney Godley, of the Royal Fusiliers, was the first private of the Great War, to be awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallant actions during the defence of the Nimy Bridge at the battle of Mons , August 23, 1914 .
He took a machine gun from a severely wounded officer and despite the orders to withdraw, maintained a covering fire until the entire battalion was evacuated. Though wounded by shrapnel and a bullet lodged in his skull, Private Godley held his position alone, keeping back the enemy for two hours, but eventually he was overpowered by the Germans and taken prisoner.

On hearing of Private Godley's actions, King George V, recommended that Godley was awarded the Victoria Cross medal. It was thought, however that Godley had been killed and the medal was awarded posthumously, until later when word got back that he'd actually survived after being operated on by the German medical staff and spent the rest of the conflict as a prisoner of war. He was released at the end of the war and returned to his home in the East End of London.


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