Queen honours forgotten war hero

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Major Charles Allix Lavington Yate, known as "Cal" was born on 14 March 1872 the son of Prebendary George Edward Yate (Vicar of Madeley from 1859 to 1908).

    The Major belonged to a Berkshire family, a branch of which settled at Madeley Hall around the middle of the 18th century. He was educated at Weymouth College. He passed out of Sandhurst ninth out of 1,100 cadets and joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, seeing active service in the Tirah expedition of 1897 to 1898. He was seriously wounded in the Boer War. On returning to Madeley for a spell of convalescence, local miners met the train at Madeley Market station, took the place of the horses drawing his carriage and pulled him through the streets back to his home in celebration of his many acts of bravery.

    He married Florence Helena Brigg from Greenhead Hall, Yorkshire in St Georges Church, Hanover Square in 1903 – there were no children.

    He became a major in 1912 and won his VC on 26 August 1914 at the Battle of Le Cateau, where Major General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien fought his famous delaying action to check the German pursuit after Mons.

    Major Yate’s citation in the London Gazette of November 25, 1915 read: "Major Charles Allix Lavington Yate (deceased), 2nd Battalion The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, commanded one of the two companies that remained to the end in the trenches at Le Cateau on August 26, and when all other officers were killed or wounded and ammunition exhausted, led his 19 survivors against the enemy in a charge in which he was severely wounded. He was picked up by the enemy and he subsequently died as a prisoner of war". It has been said that he actually died trying to escape from captivity - has anyone got any further information? He died on September 20 1914 and is buried at the British Military Cemetery at Stahnsdorf, South West Berlin. His Victoria Cross is kept in the Yorkshire Light Infantry Regimental Mueum at Pontefract.

    Four other VCs were won at Le Cateau that day, including one by Lance Corporal Frederick William Holmes of the same regiment.

    He wrote a few months later: "Major Yate was a thorough gentleman and a great favourite with us all. He had had a lot of experience in the Far East and at home, and I am sure that if he had lived he would have become a general. He was always in front, and his constant cry was 'Follow me!'".

    Major Yate was fond of riding, hunted with the Albrighton hounds, and played polo and football, and enjoyed skiing. He contributed unsigned articles to Blackwood's Magazine, and was a top class interpreter for French, German and Japanese. He could also speak Hindustani and Persian.

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