Lt. Gordon M. Flowerdew VC

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, May 18, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    This young soldier caught my eye because we were talking a while ago about the use of swords in WW! .... then today I read a really interesting thread on another site - that mentioned him living in what is now a ghost town in British Columbia .... I'd be interested to know of his life in Norfolk ... if anybody knows !!

    In memory of
    who died on March 31, 1918

    Service Number: 2505
    Age: 33
    Force: Army
    Unit: Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), R.C.A.C.

    Citation: An extract from the Second Supplement to the London Gazette, No. 30648, of April 24, 1918, records the following:

    Honours and Awards: Victoria Cross
    Date of Birth: January 2, 1885
    Son of Arthur J. B. and Hannah Flowerdew, of Billingford Hall, Scole, Norfolk.

    Grave Reference: I. H. 1.

    Gordon Muriel Flowerdew was bom at Billingford in Norfolk, England on 2 January 1885. The son of a farmer, he emigrated to Canada in 1903 to settle in British Columbia where he joined the British Columbia Horse, a militia regiment, before the First World War. He later transfered to Lord Strathcona's Horse and saw his first action in 1915 as a lance sergeant. At the time of the battle of Moreuil Wood he had recently taken over command of C Squadron. He was laid to rest in French soil on 31 March 1918.

    Lt. Gordon M. Flowerdew was awarded the V.C. after his heroic efforts in the Battle of Moreuil Wood in Northern France. Flowerdew was a member of the cavalry in Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). Though the trench warfare of the First World War left little chance for heroics on horseback, this incident saw Flowerdew lead a charge against two enemy lines, each about 60 strong. Riding directly into machine-gun fire, Flowerdew and his men used their swords to kill many Germans, then, despite heavy casualties, came back around and charged the lines again.

    Attached Files:

  2. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    There's a Rugby connection to Lt (T/Capt) Flowerdew's VC. See the notes below about one of his comrades in arms.

    Harvey, Frederick Maurice Watson VC MC Croix de Guerre played for Ireland

    Internationals: 2 : 1907 W- ; 1911 F+

    Frederick Harvey was born on 1 September 1888 in Athboy, Ireland.

    He played as a Fly-half/full back for: Portora Grammar School, Ellesmere College, Wanderers

    Profession: Rancher/The Army

    Remarks: Fred Harvey was first selected for Ireland v Wales at Cardiff while still at school, and was noted as being one of the best of an Irish side that was thoroughly outclassed. He emigrated to Canada before the outbreak of War, but returned to Ireland in 1911, and was selected to play at Fullback v France. He did not have a good match (won by Ireland 25-5), but it was acknowledged that he was new to the position. He returned to Canada, where he married Winifred Patterson in Fort McLeod.

    War service: Harvey enlisted in the 23rd Alberta Rangers (Militia) Canadian Mounted Rifles in 1915, and was commissioned the next year, after which he transferred to Lord Strathcona’s Horse [Canadian Expeditionary Force]. Lt Harvey was passed fit for overseas service on 18 May 1916. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for an action on 27 March 1917 at Saulcourt-Guyencourt, France: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. During an attack by his regiment on a village, a party of the enemy ran forward to a wired trench just in front of the village and opened rapid fire and machine gun fire at very close range, causing heavy casualties in the leading troop. At this critical moment when the enemy showed no intention of retiring and fire was still intense, Lieutenant Harvey, who was in command of the leading troop, ran forward well ahead of his men and dashed at the trench, still fully manned, jumped the [triple] wire, shot the machine gunner and captured the gun. His most courageous act undoubtedly had a decisive effect on the success of the operation. Gazette dated 8 June 1917.

    Lt Harvey was also involved in an action that saw the award of a posthumous VC to Captain Gordon Flowerdew of “C” Squadron, Lord Strathcona’s Horse, on 30 March 1918. At Bois de Moreuil in France, during the major German advance, the Horse was in the path of about 300 of German infantry, supported by machine guns. Capt Flowerdew ordered Lt Harvey’s troop to dismount and ‘carry out a special movement’ while Capt Flowerdew led three troops in a charge, which broke the enemy advance. He then established a defensive position where he was joined by Lt Harvey and his men. Capt Flowerdew died of wounds the next day and is buried in Namps-au-Val British Cemetry [I. H. 1.]. Lt Harvey was awarded the MC for this action, the citation appeared in the Gazette of 22 June 1918: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. In the attack, by his fearless leading he overcame the resistance of the enemy, although the latter were in greatly superior numbers. He engaged many of the enemy single-handed, and, although wounded and suffering from a considerable loss of blood, continued to fight his way forward until he affected a junction with another mounted party, thus contributing in a great degree to the success of the attack. He commanded his men with magnificent gallantry, skill, and determination.” His Croix de Guerre was Gazetted on 10 October 1918.

    After the War, Harvey remained in the Canadian Army, eventually achieving the rank of Brigadier during the 1939-1945 War, when he was the District Officer Commanding for Alberta.

    Fred Harvey was one of three Wanderers players to be awarded the VC, the others being Tommy Crean (see above) and Robert Johnston, who were awarded their medals during the 1899-1902 South African War.

    He died on 21 August 1980, in the Colonel Belcher Hospital in Calgary, and is buried in Union Cemetery, Fort McLeod, Alberta, Canada. His Victoria Cross is displayed in the Museum of the Regiments, Calgary.
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    The last project of the Celebrations 2000 concluded in Fort MacLeod with the dedication of a new headstone to one of our most recognized soldiers, Brigadier General Frederick Maurice Watson Harvey VC, MC

    Cde G.Brigadier Harvey was born in Ireland on September 1, 1888, he grew up as a fine athlete and a keen competitor with a love for challenge. He graduated from school as a qualified surveyor and was drawn to Canada in 1908 where he worked on a ranch near Fort MacLeod, Alberta and later joined a survey team working in the North. His love for rugby drew him back to Ireland for a short time to play for his homeland.

    In 1911, he returned to Fort MacLeod where he bought a ranch and subsequently married Miss Winifred Lillian Patterson in March 1914.

    The call of King and Empire soon drew this young man into service of his newly adopted country. In 1915 he enlisted in the Canadian Mounted Riflesin Fort MacLeod. He subsequently went overseas with that cavalry unit and was posted in 1916 to the LSH (RC).It was as a Strathconat that he earned the many coveted decorations he wore.

    The Harvey’s only son was killed in action in Europe in 1945.

    B Gen Harvey died in the Colonel Belcher Hospital on 21 August 1980 at age 92 and was buried in Fort MacLeod, 25 August.

    In 1980 a small wooden cross was placed on the grave to mark the final resting place of this highly decorated soldier. This wooden cross would later be replaced with a family headstone marking the graves of both Brigadier and Mrs. Harvey. Mrs. Harvey died in 1988 and was to be buried beside her husband however this did not happen and subsequently she was buried at the Anglican Cemetery in Millarville, which she considered home since shortly after the war when they purchased their farm.

    This should be the end but not so. With their son’s death in WW II there was no immediate family left to look after the grave and from time to time members of the Regiment would drop down to Fort MacLeod to see the grave of this brave soldier of the Strathcona’s. The town of Fort MacLeod took care of the gravesite in the usual fashion and nothing more was done.

    In winter 1998, the regiment received a letter from Mr. James C. Marshall, stating his concern over the poor condition B Gen Harvey’s grave and its state of disrepair. After the snow cleared a trip to investigate and see first hand its condition. The grave was not as bad as assumed but still, here was a Victoria Cross recipient who had a family headstone and who was entitled to something much different.

    The task to investigate was sent out to members of the Regiment which resulted in getting Mr. Wayne Ramsay of the Department of Veterans Affairs in P.E.I. agreeing that they would provide the headstone if all the proper documentation and authorizations were acquired. It took almost a year to see that all was completed and in October 2000 - twenty years after his passing a ceremony was held in Fort MacLeod to rededicate the new headstone to our fallen hero.

    WO Darryl Crowell MB, CD
    1982 October 2000

    Attached Files:

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