Samuel Needham VC ~ Lincolnshire Victoria Cross Winner
It’s hard to imagine somebody more worthy of the title Lincolnshire Worthy than a man awarded the ultimate of medals - The Victoria Cross.
Samuel Needham is such a man - please read on . . .
This exceptional man is honoured and remembered here today thanks to the work of Tony Emptage. He has kindly sourced and the photographs and got permission for usage here on this site and researched and written the account below. Tony has done tremendous work in the field of war graves and is perfectly placed to accord Private Samuel Needham with all the respect deserved of a Lincolnshire Victoria Cross Winner - it’s with gratitude I hand you over now to Tony . . .
His parents had both died within 2 weeks of each other when he was only 11 years old.
His younger sister died when he was 17, she was 15, and it is believed that this was the reason that he then decided to join the Army. He was 33 years old, and a Private in the 1/5th Battalion, The Bedfordshire Regiment, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
There are two versions of his citation from when he won his VC. Both explain the action, but the wording is different in places.
An extract from The London Gazette, No. 30982, dated 29th Oct., 1918, records the following:-”For most conspicuous bravery and initiative when with a strong patrol which was heavily attacked by the enemy and forced back in confusion.
At this critical moment, Pte. Needham ran back and fired rapidly at a body of the enemy at point-blank range. His action checked the enemy and enabled the patrol commander to reorganise his men. The patrol had many casualties, but successfully got back all their wounded, and it was due to the action of individuals, of which this is the most outstanding, that the entire patrol was not cut off.
Pte. Needham’s example was of the greatest value at a critical moment, and the bold and determined stand made by him did more than anything to inspire confidence, and undoubtedly saved a critical situation.”
“On 10/11 September 1918 at Kefr Kasim, Palestine, one of our patrols was attacked by the enemy in considerable force, supported by very heavy fire. At a critical moment Private Needham ran back, turned to face a fresh body of the enemy which was approaching and fired rapidly at about 40 Turks at only 30 yards range. This action checked the enemy and just gave the patrol commander time to get his men together again. Half of the patrol were casualties but they managed to get back all their wounded. Private Needham’s action in standing up to the enemy all alone did much to inspire the men and undoubtedly saved the situation.”
His cause of death was recorded as accidental gunshot wound at Kantara, Egypt on 4 November 1918.
His Victoria Cross is on display at the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regimental Collection at the Wardown Park Museum, Luton, Bedfordshire.
Census returns living in Great Limber 1901 aged 15 Groom
Private The Bedfordshire Regiment
Was awarded the Victoria Cross 10/11 September 1918 at Kefr Kasim, Palestine,
Killed in action, Kantara, Egypt - 4 Nov 1918
Egypt War Memorial Cemetery
In addition there is a privately printed pamphlet detailing the life of Private 203329 Samuel Needham V.C. of the 1/5th Bedfordshire Regiment. He was born in nearby Brocklesby, the son of Septimus and Mary Needham, and died in Egypt on the 4th November 1918 as a result of wounds received. The award of The Victoria Cross in respect of his outstanding valour on the night of the 10th - 11th September that year at Kefr Kasim was published in the London Gazette on the 30th October 1918.He is buried in the Kantara War Cemetery, near the Suez Canal, Egypt.
The medals pictured are the Victoria Cross, 1914-15 Star and the Allied Victory Medal. Oddly though, his silver British War Medal 1914-18 is missing, which was issued to over 6.4 million recipients.
My thanks once again to Tony Emptage, please note this text and images cannot be reproduced elsewhere without written permission form Tony Emptage.
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