Chief Petty Officer George Henry Prowse

29 August 1886 – 27 September 1918

George was born in Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taf. He worked as a collier in the Gorseinon district of Swansea, first at Grovesend Colliery, and then at the Mountain Colliery. He was a good soccer player and played for Gorseinon AFC in the 1910/11 season.

In 1915 he enlisted in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Instead of going to sea, as he might have expected, he found himself in the Drake Battalion, in the Royal Naval Division, and ultimately on the battlefields of France and Flanders. Many acts of courage and strong leadership quickly saw him promoted to Chief Petty Officer.

On 2nd September 1918 in Pronville, France he led his men against heavy machine gun fire, capturing a strong point together with twenty three prisoners and five machine guns. He later single handedly attacked an ammunition limber, killing three men and capturing the limber.

Two days later, with complete disregard of personal danger, with a small party, he attacked two machine gun positions which were holding up the advance of his battalion killing six enemy and taking thirteen prisoners. He was the only survivor of his party. This action enabled the battalion to push forward. Throughout the whole operation, his magnificent example and leadership were an inspiration to all and his courage was superb.

He later wrote a letter to his wife telling her he had been recommended for a VC, but was sadly killed in action before it reached her. His body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, France.

His Victoria Cross is held at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum London.

Filed under: WW1