Lance Sergeant John Harold Rhodes

17 May 1891 – 27 November 1917:-

John was born in Packmoor, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. He was employed as a miner until he enlisted in the Grenadier Guards on 17 February 1911. He served with the 3rd Battalion, before transferring to the Reserve in February 1914. He then returned to mining at Chatterley-Whitfield Colliery, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent.

He was recalled to the Guards upon the outbreak of the war and was involved in many brave acts earning him the DCM and subsequently a Bar to the DCM. He had several brushes with death during these actions.

On 9th October 1917, near Houthulst Forest, Belgium, he was in charge of a Lewis gun section covering the consolidation of the right front company. He accounted for several enemy with his rifle as well as by Lewis gun fire, and, upon seeing three enemy leave a “pill-box”, he went out single-handed through our own barrage and hostile machine-gun fire, and effected an entry into the “pill-box”. He there captured nine enemy, including a forward observation officer connected by telephone with his battery. These prisoners he brought back with him, together with valuable information.

Sadly, John was mortally wounded on 27 November 1917. His Commanding Officer made an attempt to notify him that he had been awarded the VC, but he arrived too late. He was buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt. He left a wife and a child of six months.

John is the most highly decorated noncommissioned officer in the history of the Grenadier Guards. His medals are held at the Grenadier Guards Regimental Headquarters, London.

Filed under: WW1